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Brazil Rejects BHP, Vale Offer for 2015 Dam Disaster Cleanup

Compensation Talks Stalled as Government Demands More Remediation

by Victor Adetimilehin

Brazilian authorities have rejected a new compensation proposal from mining giants BHP and Vale for the devastating 2015 Mariana dam collapse. The disaster, which killed 19 people and polluted a major river, continues to be a source of tension between the government and the mining companies.

Rejection Follows Months of Negotiations

The latest offer, submitted by BHP, Vale, and their joint venture Samarco, totaled 127 billion reais ($25 billion), including previously disbursed funds. However, Brazilian officials deemed the proposal insufficient, arguing that it fails to address key concerns raised in previous discussions.

A sticking point appears to be the amount of mining waste targeted for removal from the Rio Doce River. The new proposal outlines a lower removal volume compared to what was previously agreed upon. Additionally, Brazilian authorities object to a provision that would shift the responsibility for ecological restoration onto the government. They also reject a clause requesting immunity from future lawsuits for affected municipalities.

Minas Gerais Seeks Further Revisions

While the federal government and the state of Espírito Santo definitively rejected the proposal, the government of Minas Gerais, the state most impacted by the disaster, expressed a willingness to continue negotiations. Officials there acknowledged the need for revisions but suggested the latest offer included some advancements.

The Samarco dam collapse in November 2015 stands as one of Brazil’s worst environmental disasters. A wave of mud and mining waste unleashed from the broken dam roared through the nearby village of Bento Rodrigues, burying homes and leaving a trail of devastation. The ecological impact was significant, with the Rio Doce river sustaining heavy pollution.

The ongoing saga of compensation negotiations reflects the gravity of the Mariana disaster. While BHP, Vale, and Samarco have offered significant sums, Brazilian authorities remain steadfast in their demands for a comprehensive solution that addresses environmental rehabilitation and ensures long-term recovery for impacted communities.

Source: Mining.com

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