Brazil state prosecutors to sue Vale, BHP over Samarco damburst
SAO PAULO Dec 10 (Reuters) - State prosecutors in Brazil said on Thursday they were bringing a civil lawsuit against miners Vale, BHP Billiton and their joint venture Samarco, an iron ore mine where a burst dam last month killed at least 13 people and devastated a nearby village.
The public prosecutors in the state of Minas Gerais said they had taken the action after Samarco, owned 50-50 by Brazil's Vale SA and Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd, refused on Wednesday to sign an accord. The prosecutors did not say in their statement the value of damages they were seeking.
Brazil's federal and state governments have said they will sue Samarco and its owners for 20 billion reais ($5.3 billion)over the burst tailings dam that unleashed 60 million cubic meters of mud and mine waste into a major river valley.
($1 = 3.81 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Additional reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by David Gregorio)
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