A BRAZILIAN court has given the firms behind the fatal Samarco dam collapse 30 days to pay US$350m to begin funding the cleanup of the mining disaster.
In November last year, a tailings dam at the iron ore mine owned by BHP Billiton and Vale failed, releasing a torrent of mud that buried villages and homes, killing 17 people and polluting local water supplies.
In a statement released on Friday, Vale confirmed that a Brazilian court has given the mine-owners 30 days to make the payment to begin repairs; 90 days to prove that leakage from the failed dam has stopped; and six months to present plans endorsed by environmental agencies for the removal of mud that has been placed on the banks of the contaminated Rio Doce river.
In October, the Brazilian prosecutors’ office charged 21 people with qualified homicide over the incident, including the president of the joint venture that runs the mine.
An independent investigation published in September blamed the collapse of the dam on design flaws, initiated by three small earthquakes that liquefied the tailings.
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