Brazil’s Prosecutors File $44 Billion Lawsuit Against BHP, Vale Over Dam Failure

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Brazilian prosecutors threw investors into a panic on Wednesday after demanding $44 billion  (155 billion Brazilian Reais) from major mining companies Vale SA and BHP Billiton over the collapse of a dam at their Samarco joint venture last year that ranked as the country’s worst environmental disaster and killed at least 17 people.

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The 359-page civil lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors on Monday and announced late on Tuesday came as a shock to many investors, who had hoped that a settlement signed with the government in March worth 10 billion Real would draw a line under the bulk of claims relating to the disaster. However, a Brazilian judge on Thursday ratified the original settlement between BHP Billiton and Vale and Brazil’s federal government. The move potentially saps some of the energy from the $44 billion lawsuit, but it’s still very much alive.

China Begins Closing Coal Projects

China will take stronger action against illegal coal projects as it tries to tackle a massive capacity glut in the sector, the country’s state planning agency said, after ordering the closure of 38 projects. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) ordered the immediate closure of the projects for breaching industry policies, it said in a notice posted on its website on Friday.

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This is part of a large-scale crackdown by Beijing on coal and steel overcapacity.

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