BHP Billiton says yet to assess casualties at mudslide site

"Most of what happened there has been under the cloak of darkness," BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie told reporters in Melbourne.

BHP Billiton says yet to assess casualties at Brazil mudslide site

BHP Billiton said it had yet to fully assess the extent of damage and casualties from a massive mudslide at Brazil'sSamarco iron ore mine on Thursday night.

"Most of what happened there has been under the cloak of darkness," BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie told reporters in Melbourne. "At daybreak, clearly we will do an awful lot more and give you further updates."

The iron ore tailings dam owned 50-50 by Vale and BHP Billiton at the Germano mine near the town of Mariana in Minas Gerais, south eastern Brazil, burst, causing the mudslide.

Civil defense authorities in Mariana said they were evacuating about 600 people to higher ground from the village of Bento Rodrigues, where television footage showed dozens of homes destroyed by the mudslide. A car rested on top of a wall where the roof of a building had been ripped off.

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