Brazil

Brazil Sues Samarco for $43.5 Billion over Mining Disaster

The Bento Rodrigues district is pictured covered with mud after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst in Mariana, Brazil, November 6, 2015/Photo: Reuters
Brazil Sues Samarco for $43.5 Billion over Mining Disaster

Federal prosecutors in Brazil have filed a US$43.5 billion civil lawsuit against iron miner Samarco, and its owners Vale SA and BHP Billiton, for the collapse of a tailings dam in November that killed 19 people and polluted a major river.

The lawsuit, which is also against the two states impacted by the spill and the federal government, is the result of a six-month investigation led by a task force set up after the disaster, prosecutors said in a statement.

Vale said it had not been notified of the suit and was therefore unable to comment. BHP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The total damages, they said, were calculated based upon the cost of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. BP’s total pre-tax charge for that spill reached US$53.8 billion.

Samarco has taken first steps toward reopening the mine, applying for permission to use old mining pits to store tailings. A permit, however, will only be issued once the leaks are stopped, Semad deputy director Geraldo Abreu said earlier in April.

Half of the 24 million cubic meters of tailings that remained in the dam after it burst have leaked into the provisional dikes, which are leaking the turbid water into the the Rio Doce river, reported the federal environmental protection agency Ibama. Tailings are mineral waste and water sludge left over from mining operations and stored in ponds.

Source/teleSUR
CF/IC

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1 Comment

  1. Ishwar Mining

    May 13, 2016 at 6:13 am

    A big loss for the economy which will take a long time to be restored and get back to normal. Moreover, such loss will be great taken care of to avoid future disasters.

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