On 25 January 2019, the dam holding in tailings from the Corrego do Feijaoã mine near the town of Brumadinho — an iron ore mine owned by the mining company Vale — collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 270 people. Following the disaster, investigations have uncovered evidence to suggest that Vale knew the dam was unstable and did not take sufficient actions to prevent such a disaster or break. In February 2021, victims of the disaster were awarded US$7 billion in compensation, and senior management from Vale are now facing murder charges in Brazilian courts over the disaster.
Vale has also been blacklisted by many investors, particularly in Europe, and has seen a significant drop in share price as a result. The disaster is the second that Vale has been implicated in, following the collapse of two co-owned Brazilian dams in November 2015 where dozens of people were killed and over 660km of waterways were polluted. The Brumadhino investigation also implicates other businesses, such as German company TÜV SÜD, which, according to prosecutors, produced false reports saying the dam was safe due to “pressure, rewards and conflict of interest between Vale and TÜV SÜD”.