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Death toll from dam disaster at Brazil mine rises to 34

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Brasília, Jan 27: At least 34 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds are missing Saturday after a dam burst a day earlier at a Brazilian iron mine, according to the local fire department.

The latest death toll comes from the Minas Gerais Fire Department, which is conducting search and rescue operations. Of the 34 confirmed dead, the fire department said 22 bodies have been recovered.

Death toll from dam disaster at Brazil mine rises to 34

Rescue teams have been scouring the site near the town of Brumadinho, following Friday's collapse. It is not clear what caused the failure of the dam, owned by Vale, Brazil's largest mining company.

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Some 366 people have been rescued, Minas Gerais state fire department says. Of those, 23 have been taken to hospital.

Built in 1976, the dam was one of several in the area and it was used to hold residue from the mine. It had a capacity of 12m cubic metres and had been an inactive site for three years, Vale said.

What happened in 2015?

On 5 November 2015, a dam - also owned by Vale, along with BHP Billiton - burst at a Samarco mine in Mariana.

More than 60m cubic metres - enough to fill 20,000 Olympic swimming pools - spilled over into the surrounding area.

After a lengthy court case, BHP Billiton and Vale reached a settlement worth at least 6.8bn reais ($1.8bn) with the Brazilian government.

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