The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and the Rio de Janeiro-based mining giant Vale have signed an agreement that commits the company to pay nearly $7 billion in recompense for a dam disaster in 2019 that killed more than 270 people and polluted a vast region.
The government of Minas Gerais described the Thursday’s agreement as the largest reparations ever in Latin America, reports Xinhua news agency.
The company’s tailings dam collapsed on January 25, 2019 in the town of Brumadinho, burying houses under toxic mud and causing at least 272 deaths, while 11 others are still unaccounted for.
Vale is determined to fully repair and compensate for the damages caused by the Brumadinho tragedy and contribute, increasingly, to the improvement and development of the communities in which we operate,” the company’s CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo said.
The “unprecedented” agreement will pay for public works that will generate 360,000 jobs “over the coming months and years”, Governor of Minas Gerais Romeu Zema said.
According to the agreement, 30 per cent of the funds will go to Brumadinho and its population through a cash transfer program for residents of the affected area.
About $870 million will be earmarked for the recovery of the Paraopeba River basin, and $1.2 billion for rsocio-environmental damages.
Vale was also involved in the Mariana dam disaster which occurred on November 5, 2015, in the same Minai Gerais state.
The disaster killed 19 people and the extent of the damage caused is the largest ever recorded with pollutants spread along 668 km of watercourses.