Vale fined $17m for Brumadinho tailings dam disaster

Vale’s tailings dam failure on Jan. 25, 2019, killed 270. (Image courtesy of Vinícius Mendonça | Ibama)

Brazilian miner Vale SA was fined after the country’s comptroller general decided the firm failed to present reliable information on the conditions of its Brumadinho tailings dam prior to a 2019 disaster, the company said on Monday.

The comptroller general, a branch of Brazil’s federal government, set the fine at about 86.3 million reais ($16.8 million), the firm said in a securities filing.

The mining giant said it did not agree with the decision and would appeal within the next 10 days.

Vale said the government considered that the company wrongly issued a positive Stability Condition Statement – a document that certifies the safety of a dam – for Brumadinho’s tailings dam from June to September 2018.

The collapse of the dam at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao mine, in January 2019, left 270 dead and ravaged nearby forests, rivers and communities.

Vale said the fine was set at the minimum baseline established by Brazilian legislation and did not acknowledge involvement from the firm’s top management.

The latest fine represents only a fraction of the 27 billion reais Vale has spent so far in compensation and eliminating upstream tailing dams.

($1 = 5.1312 reais)

(By Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Steven Grattan and Edmund Blair)

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