Exclusive: Brazil’s Vale, state government $2 billion apart on disaster settlement, source says

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Brucutu mine owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA is seen in Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo

By Marta Nogueira

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA and state authorities narrowed their gap in a potential settlement deal over the Brumadinho mining disaster to 11 billion reais ($2 billion) before talks fell apart, a person close to the negotiations told Reuters on Friday.

The 2019 disaster in the town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais state killed some 270 people when a dam ruptured at a Vale facility and unleashed a torrent of mining waste.

The Minas Gerais state government lowered its demands for a settlement to 40 billion reais in a meeting with Vale on Thursday, down from the 54 billion reais in damages it previously sought, the source said, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the negotiations were closed.

Vale offered 29 billion reais, the person said, with the talks breaking down over the difference.

Vale in an emailed statement did not comment on specific settlement figures.

“Although the parties have not reached consensus, the divergence centers on aspects related to amounts to be paid and their destination,” the company said.

Following the failed talks on Thursday, Minas Gerais Secretary General Mateus Simões delivered an ultimatum, saying that a lawsuit would proceed on Feb. 1 if Vale does not make a new offer.

(Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy)

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