Brazil prosecutors seek $457 million from Vale, Samarco, BHP for dam disaster

The collapse of the Fundao tailings dam in 2015 killed 19 people and polluted hundreds of miles of rivers. (Image: AgĂȘncia Brasil Fotografias)

State prosecutors in the state of Minas Gerais have filed a lawsuit seeking 2.5 billion reais ($457 million) from miners Vale, Samarco and BHP related to a tailings dam disaster in 2015, according to a statement on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege that the companies have not fulfilled the obligations outlined in a settlement agreed in 2018, in which the miners agreed to pay damages to the people affected by the disaster.

The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The collapse of the Fundao tailings dam near the town of Mariana caused a vast flow of mud and mining waste that buried a nearby village and killed 19 people. It also polluted a major river and is regarded as Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

Only 30% of the affected people have received compensation so far, according to the statement, which added that the sought funds would benefit 1,300 families.

“The defendants have been continuously resisting the adequate fulfillment of the imposed obligations,” the prosecutors said.

($1 = 5.4651 reais)

(By Marta Nogueira, Ana Mano, Stephen Eisenhammer and Sonya Hepinstall)


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