At least 60 people have been confirmed dead, with another 292 missing, after a dam at Vale's Corrego de Feijao iron ore mine failed and buried mine buildings and surrounding neighborhoods in iron ore waste.
The company suspended its planned dividend, share buybacks and executive bonuses in the wake of the disaster. Three court orders froze about $3 billion of Vale assets to pay for the damage and Brazil's environmental agency, Ibama, has fined the company another $66.3 million for pollution and other regulatory violations related to the dam breach.
Analysts at HSBC and Jefferies have lowered their ratings on the stock to hold from buy in the way of the accident. Analysts at Macquarie downgraded the stock to neutral from outperform and BMO Capital downgraded to stock to market perform from outperform.
Meanwhile, analysts at Credit Suisse said they believe the company will face steep regulatory changes to how it operates the dams because this is the second disaster the mining company's tailing dams have been involved in over the last three years.
Vale's website says that the waste housed behind the dams is composed mostly of sand and is non-toxic, but a 2015 U.N. report contradicts that assertion, saying that the waste contains high levels of toxic heavy metals.