Civil lawsuit dismissed for Samarco disaster: Vale

Iron ore giant Vale SA said the 20 billion reals (AU$7.8 billion) civil lawsuit claiming property and environmental damages for the Samarco mine disaster in Brazil last year has been dismissed.

The mine, a joint venture between Vale and BHP Billion, had its tailings dam burst, killing 19 people and flooding local rivers and nearby villages.

In December last year, the National Humanitarian Society (Sohumana) filed the lawsuit before a federal judge in Rio de Janeiro.

Following the incident, the two miners faced a number of lawsuits, including a recently settled case that will see BHP and Vale provide a minimum of $US1.7 billion over six years to restore the environment and local communities, and as compensation where remediation isn’t possible.

In the most recent suit, the company said the judge did not rule on the merits of the case, according to Reuters.

The country’s state and federal governments also aimed to sue Samarco, BHP, and Vale for costs of compensation for the disaster, with a settlement reached in March to cover the damages. This agreement outlined that Samarco and its owners would pay the money over 15 years, however Vale seeks to pay less than that amount due to the structure of the agreement; rather basing future payments on the amount of work left to be done.

A Brazilian judge approved the settlement in May, which reduced the potential of another $44 billion lawsuit by federal prosecutors in both Minas Gerias and bordering state Espirito Santo for clean up costs of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010.

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