Public prosecutors in Brazil said Monday that Samarco Mineracao has agreed to pay $262 million in compensation for the Fundão tailings dam failure in southern Minas Gerais that killed more than a dozen people, according to the International Business Times. Jointly owned by Vale and BHP Billiton, Samarco signed a preliminary commitment to guarantee funding for a range of emergency measures including prevention, mitigation, remediation, and compensation for environmental and social effects of the incident.
Prosecutor Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pinto acknowledged that the damages following the accident could have been much higher. “We know that the amount of damages could be much greater, but the agreement establishes a firm legal guarantee,” Pinto said. The company is required to pay the first $130 million within 10 days and the rest of the sum in a month. A government-appointed independent auditor will supervise Samarco’s use of funds, which should “exclusively” focus on costs associated with the incident, the report added.
Last week, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announced preliminary fines worth $66.2 million against Samarco for the accident. The fines were imposed by Brazil’s environmental regulator IBAMA for polluting the Doce River and damaging local fresh water supplies. Rousseff said the fine could be followed by penalties from other federal or state agencies.