Vale and Brazil state approach $7bn deal over Brumadinho

The Fire Brigade of Minas Gerais resumed the search in August 2020 for still missing bodies of 11 victims of the dam collapse. (Image: Ibama)

Vale has reached an agreement on a settlement for damages from the deadly Brumadinho dam disaster in January 2019, which killed 270 people.

The attorney general of Minas Gerais state, Jarbas Soares Júnior, said on Twitter that the agreement will be signed on February 4 – the value was not disclosed.

Vale on Wednesday confirmed an agreement for the reparation of the socio-economic and socio-environmental damage caused by the dam rupture.

In November, the head of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais rejected the miner’s proposed settlement of around 21 billion reais ($3.97 billion).

Minas Gerais requested 54.6 billion reals ($10.3 billion) in compensation, a figure that included relocation and the psychological damage suffered by survivors and the victims’ families.

According to the attorney general, the settlement is the biggest in Brazil’s history, but does not include criminal actions

Vale argued that it had already paid about 8,700 individual claims and has allocated about R$ 10 billion ($1.83 billion) to repair the damages. Vale is nearing a 37 billion reais ($6.88 billion) deal, a source familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

According to the attorney general, the settlement is the biggest in Brazil’s history, but does not include criminal actions, unknown damages, and individual rights.

The Movement of Dam Affected People (MAB), which represents the victims, said that it “disagrees with the way in which negotiations for the global agreement have been carried out, without the participation of those affected.”

Investigation

Federal Police in Minas Gerais, Brazil, expect to receive the forensic report by the end of March on the cause of the tailings liquefaction that led to the dam collapse.

In September 2019, Brazilian police indicted Vale, the testing service TÜV SÜD and 13 employees of the two companies for producing misleading documents about the safety of the dam. Each of these crimes can yield from 3 years to 6 years, and can reach a total of 18 years in prison.

In January 2020, Vale SA’s former chief executive officer Fabio Schvartsman was charged with homicide after an investigation conducted by the Minas Gerais police, but the federal investigation is still ongoing and Vale’s lawyers can challenge the charge based on the results of the federal investigation results. Other former employees were also accused of homicide.

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