July 10 (UPI) — A Brazilian court has ordered a multinational mining company to pay for all damages caused by a dam collapse in January that killed nearly 250 people.
The dam broke Jan. 25, sending a sea of mud and debris into nearby towns and wiping out homes and businesses in just seconds.
Thousands fled carrying whatever they could. Officials said more than 360 people were rescued and nearly two dozen disappeared.
The exact cost of the damage isn’t yet known, but the court has already frozen $2.8 billion in funds belonging to mining conglomerate Vale SA. The reparations will include money for the families of the dead, environmental harm and economic losses. Many victims were mining employees.
“It was not possible to quantify only by technical or scientific criteria,” the court said in a statement.
Vale SA is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and nickel. In a statement, it pledged “total commitment” to “fair and quick” reparations.
At the hearing Tuesday, judge Elton Pupo Nogueira denied the prosecutor’s request for Vale to suspend all operations in the affected region.