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Many people are feared dead after a dam collapsed at an iron-ore mine in south-east Brazil.

Scores of people are missing and local officials are reporting casualties but no official casualty announcements have been made.

The dam break caused a sea of muddy sludge to spread across rural areas of Minas Gerais state.

Rescue teams were dispatched and officials said a number of residents close to the dam had been evacuated.

The dam, used to hold residue from the Feijão iron ore mine, is owned by Brazil’s largest mining company, Vale.

Vale and local authorities said on Friday that leaked tailings from the mine had spread into the nearby community Vila Forteco, close to the city of Brumadinho.

Footage broadcast on local television showed the mudflow sweeping over roads and destroying buildings in its path.

Inhotim, Brazil’s main contemporary arts centre, is in Brumadinho, but is not believed to have been affected.

Minas Gerais fire brigade said it has sent three helicopters to assist with rescue efforts.

President Jair Bolsonaro said in a tweet that he would visit the region on Saturday.

He added that Brazil’s environment minister and its national secretary of civil defence were travelling to the scene.

The incident comes four years after another dam – owned by Vale and BHP Billiton – burst in Minas Gerais, killing 19 people.

It is considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.


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