Brazil’s Samarco to Pay $512.5 Million to Disaster Victims: Foundation

By Reuters
August 15, 2018Business News
Brazil’s Samarco to Pay $512.5 Million to Disaster Victims: Foundation
File photo: Debris of a house is pictured at Bento Rodrigues district, which was covered with mud after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst in Mariana, Brazil, November 6, 2015. (Reuters/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo)

SAO PAULO—Brazil’s Samarco Mineração SA expects to pay up to 2 billion reais ($512.5 million) this year to 19,000 families affected by the 2015 mining disaster in the state of Minas Gerais, the foundation created to pay the victims said on Aug. 15.

The first families to receive damages payments will be “the most vulnerable,” said Roberto Waak, president of the foundation.

The disaster, Brazil’s worst environmental catastrophe, occurred when a dam designed to hold back mine waste burst in November 2015, killing 19 people and leaving a trail of destruction for hundreds of kilometers (miles).

Samarco and parent companies Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd said in June they had signed a deal with Brazilian authorities that settled a 20 billion reais ($5.30 billion) lawsuit related to the accident.

Waak, speaking on the sidelines of a mining event, estimated the total number of families entitled to receive damages payments would eventually rise to 60,000 but he did not say how much the remaining families would receive or when.

So far the foundation has spent 4.2 billion reais to repair damages, according to information posted in its website.

Around 500 houses built by the foundation are expected to be delivered early 2019, Waak said.

Samarco’s operations have been halted ever since the disaster.

Reporting by Jose Roberto Gomes and Marta Nogueira

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.