UPDATE 5-Vale sees at least $443 mln mine disaster costs, long clean-up

martes 1 de diciembre de 2015 20:56 GYT

(Adds background on Onca Puma nickel mine in paragraph 17)

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK Dec 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's Vale SA said November's deadly mining disaster could cost it at least $443 million, but it was too early to put a price tag on what it expects to be a long clean-up from the pollution caused by the dam burst.

In a presentation on Tuesday preparing investors for a tough 2016, the world's largest iron ore producer said it planned to cut capital investments to about $6 billion, down by about a third from 2015 plans.

Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira said environmental recovery from the disaster on Nov. 5 at the Samarco joint venture co-owned with BHP Billiton Ltd would take time and a lot of help.

"We acknowledge the seriousness of the moment and we are committed to helping and already engaged in joint coordination," he said at the company's annual "Vale Day" event in New York.

The disaster, described by the government as Brazil's worst-ever environmental disaster, killed at least 13 people and flooded thick mud across two states. Toxic materials such as arsenic were found in river water days after the dam burst.

The ultimate financial costs of the incident could be far higher than Vale's estimate.

None of the $443 million outlined in their presentation involves legal costs. The bulk stems from production lost at another mine nearby Samarco when the dam burst also damaged a crucial conveyor belt.   Continuación...