Vale to pay $47 mi in fine over dam leak

A court has approved the deal between Vale and the Attorney-General’s Office (AGU), which stipulates the mining giant should pay $47 million in environmental fines over the disaster in the town of Brumadinho, in Minas Gerais state, in 2019.

The collapse of the dam in the Córrego do Feijão, in Brumadinho, released some 12 million cubic meters of ore waste. At least 270 people died. There are also 11 locals missing.

The amount includes the fines imposed by the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and Minas Gerais. Of the total value, $28.3 million, deposited in court, will be earmarked for seven national parks that meet in Minas Gerais.

Judge Mário de Paulo Franco, from a federal land court in Minas Gerais, in charge of the approval, described the motion as “a historic decision—founded on the systemic logic of socio-environmental and socio-economic development, via structural environmental actions and incentives to tourism.”

The remaining $18.8 million will be put towards basic sanitation projects, treatment of solid waste, and the implementation of urban areas in Minas Gerais.

The magistrate mentioned in his ruling that the money may not be used, under any circumstance, for the acquisition of non-durable consumption goods or in the payment of salaries, among other fiscal and operational expenditures.

The talks that led to the agreement involved AGU, the Ministry of the Environment, Ibama, the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and the mining firm.

Tragedy

According to an Ibama survey, at least 270 hectares were devastated, of which approximately 204 hectares consists in the native Atlantic Forest vegetation and permanent protection areas over the watercourses.

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