Vale seeks out-of-court settlement for Brazil dam disaster

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-01 13:51:52|Editor: mym
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BRASILIA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Mining giant Vale, owner of the iron-ore tailings dam that collapsed in Brazil's southeast Minas Gerais state, said Thursday that it was seeking an out-of-court settlement with the regional government.

Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman met with Brazil's General Prosecutor Raquel Dodge in the capital Brasilia to discuss compensating the hundreds of families affected by the disaster in the rural town of Brumadinho.

The death toll is currently at 110, but is expected to rise as approximately 240 people are still missing after the dam broke, unleashing 13 million cubic meters of toxic sludge that swept away or buried everything in its path.

"It is our intention to speed up as much as possible the process of compensation and attention to the consequences of the disaster," Schvartsman said, explaining the reason why Vale wanted to avoid court proceedings.

"We are prepared to forgo legal actions, reach out-of-court settlements, and sign an agreement with the authorities of Minas Gerais as quickly as possible to allow Vale to immediately begin facing this compensatory process," he said.

Schvartsman declined to provide a figure, saying the total number of victims was still unclear.

Dodge also met with representatives of the victims from Brumadinho and from Mariana, another town in Minas Gerais that experienced a similar tragedy in 2015, after a dam broke at another mining operation partly owned by Vale.

Dodge said she was in favor of reaching an out-of-court settlement to expedite the compensation process and help the affected communities recover.

Judicial authorities have frozen Vale's assets worth some 12.6 billion reals (3.46 billion U.S. dollars) so far, to ensure funds for indemnification.

The company also faces fines of 499 million reals (136.5 million U.S. dollars) in connection with the accident.