During the spill, we reported extensively on the immediate aftermath visible on satellite imagery, the remaining threat of a possible second dam failure (which thankfully did not materialize), and by looking back in time with historical satellite imagery, documented the increase of waste in the impoundment behind the failed Fundão Dam. We also wrote about how frequently these kinds of disasters occur around the world.
The confluence of the Rio Doce and the Atlantic on Feb. 10, 2016, over three months after the disaster, as seen by MODIS/Terra.
Now the Brazilian government is seeking $44 billion (USD) in damages, likening the disaster to the ecological devastation of the oil spilled in the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster. A police investigation recently concluded that Samarco Mineração, a joint venture of Vale SA and BHP Billiton, was "more than negligent" in overlooking structural failings and continuing to push for more production.
What is even more alarming is that studies have shown a correlation between the frequency of tailings dam incidents and downturns in commodity prices, and the height of dams is soaring around the world as mines produce more and more waste.