Vale expects tentative dam collapse settlement with Brazil authorities this month

The November 2015 dam collapse at the Samarco iron ore mine near the town of Mariana, Minas Gerais state, caused a vast flow of mud and mining waste that buried a nearby village, killing 19 people. (Image: Corpo de Bombeiros/MG)

Brazilian miner Vale expects to reach a tentative agreement by the end of this month with Brazilian federal and state authorities to settle reparations over the deadly 2015 collapse of a tailings dam, an executive said on Thursday.

The Mariana dam collapse caused a wave of toxic tailings that killed 19 people. It left hundreds homeless, flooded forests and polluted the entire length of the Doce River.

“It doesn’t mean that (an agreement) will be signed by the end of June, because that depends on the construction of the definitive documents, but by the end of June we hope that there will be a consensus,” said Alexandre D’Ambrosio, Vale’s executive vice-president of corporate and institutional affairs, at an event in Rio de Janeiro.

A definitive agreement could take at least another month, he said.

D’Ambrosio’s remarks come a day after Vale, Australian miner BHP and their joint venture Samarco presented Brazilian authorities with a new offer to settle reparations for the dam collapse after Brazil rejected its previous one.

The miners’ proposal totals 140 billion reais ($26.08 billion), which breaks down to 82 billion reais to be paid to the federal government and the Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo states over 20 years, 37 billion reais they have already spent and 21 billion for future obligations, such as the removal of tailings from the Doce River.

In 2019, another Vale-owned tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil collapsed, killing 270 people.

($1 = 5.3674 reais)

(By Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Peter Frontini; Editing by Rod Nickel)


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