By Samantha Pearson and Jeffrey T. Lewis 

SÃO PAULO -- Brazilian miner Vale agreed to pay $7 billion in compensation to the state of Minas Gerais where the collapse of its dam two years ago killed 270 people, polluted rivers and obliterated the surrounding landscape.

Thursday's settlement, the biggest court settlement in Brazilian history, according to prosecutors, is intended to compensate the state for the socioeconomic damage caused by the disaster, but it doesn't affect a slew of pending homicide and environmental charges in the case.

When Vale's dam burst in Brumadinho in January 2019 it unleashed a tsunami of mining waste down the valley at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, wiping out the on-site canteen as many workers were at lunch, as well as destroying nearby homes and a guest house.

"Vale is committed to fully repair and compensate the damage caused by the tragedy in Brumadinho and to increasingly contribute to the improvement and development of the communities in which we operate," Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Bartolomeo said in a statement. "We know that we have work to do and we remain firm in that purpose."

Write to Samantha Pearson at samantha.pearson@wsj.com and Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 04, 2021 09:11 ET (14:11 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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