Vale faces $3.8 billion claim in Dutch case over Mariana dam break

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 9:40 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Victims of the 2015 Mariana dam break in Brazil are seeking about 3 billion British pounds ($3.8 billion) in compensation from mining companies Vale and Samarco in a new lawsuit launched in the Netherlands, their lawyers said on Tuesday.

The compensation is claimed on behalf of nearly 1,000 businesses and more than 77,000 individuals hit by the disaster, in a Dutch lawsuit brought by the Stichting Ações do Rio Doce, a Dutch non-profit foundation.

The case was filed in the Netherlands by Dutch firm Lemstra Van der Korst and British firm Pogust Goodhead, which earlier filed a similar case in Britain against Australian mining firm BHP.

Vale, which jointly owns Samarco with BHP, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The dam collapse in the southeastern city of Mariana caused a giant mudslide that killed 19 people and severely polluted the Rio Doce river, compromising the waterway to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean.

A Brazilian federal judge this year ruled that Vale, BHP and their joint venture Samarco must pay 47.6 billion reais ($9.4 billion) to a state fund in damages for the dam burst.

That ruling did not apply to individual victims, Pogust Goodhead said in January.

The case was launched in the Netherlands against Vale SA and Samarco Iron Ore Europe BV, Samarco’s Dutch subsidiary. Lawyers said they had made sure assets of Vale’s Dutch subsidiary would be ringfenced in case of a successful outcome of the claim.

($1 = 5.0457 reais)

($1 = 0.7877 pounds)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Susan Fenton)