Brazil Prosecutors to Force Vale & BHP to Pay off Samarco's Debt
Brazilian prosecutors have asked a bankruptcy court to compel miners Vale SA and BHP Group Ltd to fully pay off their Samarco joint venture's 50.7 billion reais (USD 9.47 billion) debt. Prosecutors consider Samarco's co-owners to be responsible for the disaster and are seeking a restraining order that would oblige them to cover its debt. The prosecutors said both controlling shareholders used Samarco to obtain immediate gains amid an iron-ore price boom, which they say precipitated the dam's collapse. The wrote "They chose to put at risk the lives of people who lived and worked there, as well as the environment, causing tragic consequences and incalculable damages.”
Samarco filed for bankruptcy protection in April as it struggled to restructure its debt, which it stopped servicing after a dam burst at a mine in 2015, killing 19 people, releasing a giant torrent of sludge and halting production.