(Reuters) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a preliminary investigation of iron ore miner Vale over the collapse of a Brazilian mining waste dam that killed more than 250 people in January, Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The U.S. regulator decided to proceed with the probe of the Brazilian company last week after a meeting with Brazilian prosecutors and the CVM, the country’s own market watchdog, the paper reported, without citing sources.
The CVM, which has the power to impose fines and bar executives from working at listed companies, said in February it had started two administrative probes into Vale.
Vale, whose ADRs trade on the NYSE, faces at least one U.S. investor class action over the avalanche of mining waste from its tailings dam in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho in late January.
The disaster triggered the steepest drop in Vale’s share price ever in percentage terms and a global inquiry into how mining companies store billions of tonnes of mining waste in massive dams.
A Vale spokeswoman said that the miner and its executives had not received notice of any investigation by the SEC.
The SEC declined to comment.
Brazil-based miner Vale S.A. said that another tailings dam near the south-eastern city of Barao de Cocais is at risk of bursting after the recent collapse of the Brumadinho dam in January, BBC reported. Vale said that the Sul Superior dam could collapse if the current pace of movement in the mine pit's embankment continues. The dam contains waste from the Gongo Soco iron ore mine.