MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, July 3rd 2022 - 17:04 UTC

 

 

Brazilian prosecutors looking into expanding the case against mining companies

Monday, January 28th 2019 - 09:32 UTC
Full article 1 comment
Last Friday the burst in a dam at a Vale mine in the town of Brumadinho, sent a torrent of mud tearing through the facilities leaving 58 dead and 305 missing Last Friday the burst in a dam at a Vale mine in the town of Brumadinho, sent a torrent of mud tearing through the facilities leaving 58 dead and 305 missing
Federal prosecutor Jose Adercio Sampaio says that depending on Vale's culpability, it may change how his task force handles the 2015 Samarco case Federal prosecutor Jose Adercio Sampaio says that depending on Vale's culpability, it may change how his task force handles the 2015 Samarco case

The Brazilian prosecutor running talks to settle a lawsuit over a 2015 tailings dam rupture at the Samarco mine says the deadly dam burst at the mine run by Vale in Brumadinho could scramble those sensitive negotiations.

Federal prosecutor Jose Adercio Sampaio says that depending on Vale's culpability in the new disaster, it may change how his task force handles a 155 billion reais (US$ 57 billion) case against Samarco Mineracao, a Vale joint venture with BHP Group.

That case is currently suspended amid negotiations for a potential settlement. “Now an intervening fact has appeared and that may completely change the course of those talks,” Sampaio said.

Last Friday the burst in a dam at a Vale mine in the town of Brumadinho, about 100km west of the Samarco complex, sent a torrent of mud tearing through the miner's facilities. Some 58 people are reported dead, and 305 missing.

“We need to investigate what caused this new rupture, if there were the same causes as the Samarco case: a lack of monitoring, incomplete information, neglect,” Sampaio said.

Sampaio said state and federal authorities have also failed to apply more stringent regulation to the hundreds of tailings dams around the country.

“When it comes to the safety policy for these dams, nothing - absolutely nothing - has changed,” Sampaio said. “We're going to see one tragedy after the other.”

Sampaio said he has contributed to prosecutors' work so far on the new disaster, and over the weekend prosecutors will decide whether to create a new task force or expand the scope of the Samarco team.

State prosecutors said they had frozen a total of 11bn reais (US$ 2.9bn) of assets belonging to Vale, Brazil's largest mining company.

Brumadinho Mayor Avimar de Melo Barcelos criticised the company for being “careless and incompetent”, blaming the firm for the tragedy and the state of Minas Gerais for poor oversight. “This tragedy destroyed our city.”

In a television interview, Vale president Fabio Schvartsman said the disaster had happened even after the company followed safety recommendations by international experts.

“I'm not a mining technician. I followed the technicians' advice and you see what happened. It didn't work,” he said.

Mr Schvartsman, who took office in May 2017, promised “to go above and beyond any national or international standards... We'll create a cushion of safety far superior to what we have today to guarantee this never happens again.”

Categories: Environment, Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • :o))

    REF: “Brazilian prosecutors looking into expanding the case”:

    KEEP LOOKING!

    Jan 28th, 2019 - 04:24 pm +1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!