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Vale's progress in two court cases

Vale SA has outlined progress in two separate court cases, related to fatal iron ore mine tailings dam collapses in Brazil, with one reaching settlement and the other no longer requiring a guarantee.
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Vale has outlined progress on legal matters

Staff reporter

Vale said it had reached a US$25 million settlement in a New York class action regarding the 2015 Samarco dam disaster in Brazil.

The company said after a hearing last week, the Southern District of New York granted final approval to the proposed settlement agreement concerning Samarco's Fundão dam class action, brought by holders of Vale's American Depositary Receipts under US federal securities laws.

"The court will soon issue a judgment and order dismissing the case, which will make it no longer subject to appeals and thus, final and binding to the class members who joined the settlement," Vale said.

BHP, Vale's 50% partner at Samarco where the 2015 dam burst killed 19 people and caused what had been described as Brazil's worst environmental disaster, had settled a US class action with ADR investors for $50 million in 2018 with no admission of liability.

Brumadinho legal action

Separately, Vale said a Brazil court had reversed an earlier decision requiring the miner provide a BRL7.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) guarantee for a possible fine in relation to the Brumadinho dam disaster.

Minas Gerais Public Prosecutor (MPMG) had sought the guarantee, which it said represented the highest amount ever recognised in a lawsuit of this nature in Brazil, in relation to the January 2019 dam collapse which killed 270 people and was "one of the greatest socio-environmental disasters in the history of Minas Gerais and Brazil". 

"The court considered that there is no evidence of any risk that Vale would not comply with a future decision on the lawsuit," Vale said.

"The suspension stands until a new decision to be made by the judge Belizario de Lacerda, that may confirm or modify the current decision."

The company is involved in other legal action related to the dam collapse.