Moscow. December 21. Brazil court froze the assets of the world’s largest mining company BHP Billiton and Vale for any damages due to the breach two dams in the state of Minas Gerais, writes local newspaper O Globo. These dams were owned by a joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton Samarco Mineracao company.
The state court ordered Samarco within 30 days to allocate 2 billion rials (over $500 million) to cover the blowout caused damage.
The court also ruled that joint venture and BHP Billiton and Vale are responsible for the accident and should help Samarco, because the company does not have sufficient assets to pay the damages to the environment and local residents, which is estimated at 20 billion reais.
According to the court, the assets of BHP Billiton, Vale and Samarco should be blocked, and the licences for the mineral rights suspended. Samarco is unable to pay dividends, bonuses and profits to its partners.
November 5, broke through two tailings dams near the Samarco mine, killing at least 13 people, more than ten people are reported missing. Due to the destruction of the village of Bento Rodriguez over 600 local residents lost their homes.
The UN report confirmed that the breakthrough of the dams was accompanied by the release of toxic wastes, and measures taken Samarco was not enough to prevent damage. As a result of an accident in the water and soil got about 50 million tons of waste from iron mining, which had high levels of heavy metals and other toxic substances, including mercury, arsenic, chromium and manganese in quantities dangerous to humans.
Breakthrough of dams Samarco has become the biggest disaster in the history of mining industry of Brazil.