The survivors and relatives of the 270 dead after the collapse of the Brumadinho Dam in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais viewed the compensation of 37.6 billion reais (€ 5.8 billion) announced on Thursday evening as an inadequate agreement with federal and state authorities.
According to the G1 news portal, around 150 people from the movement of people affected by dams demonstrated at the door of the Minas Gerais court in Belo Horizonte, the state capital, to denounce that Vale was preferred in the trial as it will be Save the equivalent of 2.6 billion euros compared to the 8.3 billion euros requested in lawsuits related to the January 25 disaster.
The demonstration came after the announcement that Vale, blamed and convicted of the tragedy, would pay compensation for “social and environmental” damage caused by the break of the Brumadinho dam. In a statement to shareholders, the Brazilian company said it has signed a judicial agreement with the regional government and the federal and state prosecutors.
“The global agreement provides for socio-economic and socio-ecological repair projects,” said the company.
Divisible damages for individual damages are excluded from the agreement. In relation to these, Vale stressed that it reaffirmed its “commitment to fair, prompt and equitable remedies through the signature of individual agreements”.
According to the company, more than 8,900 people are already part of civil or labor compensation agreements signed with Vale, which add up to more than 2.4 billion reais (370 million euros). The mining company added that since 2019, more than a hundred thousand people have received emergency aid payments of 1.8 billion reais (€ 280 million).
In January 2019, 270 people died when a Vale dam in Brumadinho broke and a wave of toxic waste broke out that covered thousands of hectares. The stream of red-brown mud destroyed houses, streets and trees and contaminated rivers.
It was later learned that the company knew there were structural problems with the dam after conducting a damage study in the event of a break.
Vale is also responsible for another major environmental disaster: at the end of 2015 in Mariana, also in Minas Gerais, the dam of the Samarco mining company controlled by Vale and BHP Billiton killed 19 people and caused a major environmental disaster.