BWI - Building and Wood Worker's International

07/19/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/19/2019 17:10

Brazil: Vale S.A. is ordered to pay for damages caused by Brumadinho Dam disaster

Source Picture: REUTERS

The mining company, Vale S.A, was ordered to pay compensation for the environmental and economic damages caused by the rupture of the Feijão dam, which operated under its responsibility, in the city of Brumadinho, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Vale will also need to pay damages to families of those who were injured or perished due to the disaster. The actual value for the damages were not set as the judge Elton Pupo Nogueira stated it was not possible to quantify the actual economic damages caused by the dam collapse. However, the verdict called for 11 billion reais of the company (2,94 billion US dollars) assets to be blocked.

The dam collapsed on 25 January, killing 242 people and another 22 are missing. In addition, the accident let economic and environmental damage in the region that is still being calculated. This tragedy is considered to be the greatest work accident in the country's history and it is the second disaster that involved Vale S. A. in the past 5 years. In 2015, the dam Fundão, collapsed killing 19 people.

The Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) has been pressuring the company through its affiliates in Brazil, which organized a broad-based Network for Vale S.A. to take responsibility and implement standards following international guidelines to prevent future disasters. In addition, BWI has utilized international foras and mechanisms such as the OECD and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to ensure fair compensation and increase safety in Brazilian dams in order to prevent further accidents from occurring.

As a result of this union effort and governmental verdict, Valle S.A. signed an agreement with the Public Ministry of Labour to compensate families of the people who died in the accident. 700 thousand reais (186 thousand US dollars) were assigned for spouses, children and parents of killed workers and 150 thousand reais (40 thousand US dollars) for siblings. The agreement also includes a lifetime pension for victims' dependents.