Brazil: Vale, German auditor charged over dam disaster

A Brazilian court has charged German auditor TÜV SÜD and Brazilian mining giant Vale for their role in the collapse of a Vale dam a year ago. The disaster was one of the world’s deadliest mining accidents.

Brazilian state prosecutors have charged employees at mining multinational Vale and German auditor TÜV SÜD with homicide and environmental crimes in connection with the deadly dam collapse that killed more than 200 people last year.
On Tuesday, Minas Gerais state prosecutors said they charged 16 people who had worked for Vale or TÜV SÜD and that charges would be detailed at a news conference later.
Vale’s then-chief executive, Fabio Schvartsman, was among those charged, according to the charging document seen by Reuters.
The filings come just ahead of the disaster’s one-year anniversary on January 25.
Brumadinho dam disaster
In January last year, a mine tailings dam in the small Minas Gerais town of Brumadinho broke. Water ripped through the town, ravaging buildings and disposing mud containing heavy metals in the Paraopeba River.
The town remains devastated and some of its residents haven’t yet recovered the bodies of their loved ones.
The January 2019 disaster followed another in the same region in 2015, at a dam co-owned by Vale. No individuals  were held accountable for the collapse.

Memorial for victims of the Brumadinho dam collapse with photos of those who lost their livesMore than 200 people died in the Brumadinho dam collapse in January last year

In a statement, TÜV SÜD said that one year after the dam broke its causes still haven’t been clarified and that data from various sources must be collected and analyzed. It also said it was collaborating with authorities and could not comment further on the matter as investigations were ongoing.
Vale did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vale shares were down almost 2% after prosecutors made the Twitter announcement.
The collapse of the dam had knocked $19 billion (€17 billion) off Vale’s market value in a single day.

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