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Brazil’s Vale ordered to pay compensation for dam disaster

A man watches the Paraopeba River with mud and waste from the disaster caused by dam spill in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 26 January 2019.
Image copyrightEPA

A judge in Brazil has ordered mining giant Vale to pay compensation for all damages caused by the collapse of the Brumadinho dam in January.

He also pointed out that Vale’s defence team had not denied responsibility for the damage caused by the collapse of the dam.

Mounting pressure

In a statement, Vale said it had a “total commitment to fair and quick reparations for the damages caused to families, community infrastructure and the environment”.

While Judge Nogueira’s ruling on Tuesday is the first conviction for Vale over dam collapse, it is unlikely to be the end of its legal troubles.

Last week, the Brazilian Senate urged prosecutors to bring charges ranging from environmental damage to involuntary manslaughter against top managers at Vale at the time of the dam collapse.

Vale said that it disagreed with the Senate’s recommendation and insisted that senior company officials had not been aware of any “imminent risks” at the dam prior to its collapse.

While not legally binding, the Senate recommendation has further increased pressure on the mining giant.

There are also concerns that other dams may be at risk of collapse.

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