Brazil court convicts Vale for damages caused by deadly dam rupture

A dam at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine collapsed in January, killing about 300 people. (Image: Screenshot from BBC News video)

A Brazilian state judge on Tuesday convicted mining company Vale SA for damages caused by the deadly rupture of a tailings dam in January that killed at least 240 people.

Judge Elton Pupo Nogueira ruled that Vale is responsible for fixing all the damages, although he did not set a monetary value for compensation, the Minas Gerais state court said on its website. It “is still not possible to quantify solely by technical-scientific criteria,” the statement said.

The value “will not be limited to the dead, but also effects on the local and regional environment, in addition to economic activity in the affected regions,” the statement quoted Nogueira as saying.

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

The 11 billion reais ($2.89 billion) in Vale assets already frozen by courts will remain blocked, the court said.

A dam containing mining waste at a Vale facility in the town of Brumadinho collapsed on Jan. 25, burying workers, residents and huge swaths of the environment in red-brown sludge.

($1 = 3.8000 reais)

(By Marta Nogueira and Jake Spring; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)

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