Brazil Judge Orders Mining Company To Pay For Damage From Dam Disaster – by Merrit Kennedy (National Public Radio – July 10, 2019)

A Brazilian judge has ordered mining giant Vale S.A. to pay for all damage caused by a ruptured dam that unleashed a torrent of mine waste and killed at least 247 people in January.

The disaster in the small city of Brumadinho was one of Brazil’s worst-ever industrial accidents. Twenty-three people are still missing from the rupture that engulfed many of the company’s workers and nearby residents in the muddy waste.

Judge Elton Pupo Nogueira ruled that Vale should be held responsible for the cost of repairing all damage caused by the incident. The judge did not give a dollar figure for how much the company should pay, saying the tragedy’s consequences cannot be quantified only by technical-scientific criteria, according to a statement on the court’s website.

The amount “will not be limited to deaths due to the event, but also effects on the local and regional environment, in addition to economic activity in the affected regions,” Nogueira said in the statement.

Shortly after the collapse, judges in Brazil froze nearly $3 billion of Vale’s assets for relief and repair measures. Nogueira said that money will remain blocked.

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