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Vale, BHP Assets in Brazil Blocked
World Economy

Vale, BHP Assets in Brazil Blocked

A judge in Brazil’s state of Minas Gerais has frozen the Brazilian assets of mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale SA after determining their joint venture Samarco was unable to pay for damage caused by the bursting of a dam at its mine last month, Reuters reported. In a ruling, the judge ruled that Vale and BHP could be held responsible for the disaster at the iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais, for which the government is demanding 20 billion reais ($5 billion). Vale and BHP each told Reuters they had not yet been notified about the decision. The companies are able to appeal. The dam burst, which turned into Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster, killed 16 people, left hundreds homeless and polluted a river 800 km long that flows across two states. Despite the scale of the disaster, Vale had argued Samarco, as an independent legal entity and a sizable company in its own right, was wholly responsible for the accident and the subsequent damage and fines.

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