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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian mining giant, Vale, announced on Monday that a twenty billion reais (US$5.7 billion) civil suit filed against Samarco, Vale and BHP for the dam accident in Mariana, Minas Gerais in November of 2015 has been dismissed. Thousands of other civil suits, however, have been filed against the three companies due to the mining accident.

Brazil, Minas Gerais, dam bursts, Samarco
The region of Bento Rodrigues, in Mariana was devastated in early November after a dam from mining company Samarco burst, photo by Antonio Cruz/AgBr.

“Vale informs that the public civil action filed at 5ª Vara Federal of Rio de Janeiro by Sohumana Sociedade Humanitária Nacional against Samarco Mineração S.A. and its shareholders, BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda. and Vale was dismissed without prejudice and the decision has become final, therefore not subject to appeal,” said the statement issued by the mining giant.

According the mining company the public civil action filed by Sohumana in December of 2015 was seeking the payment for environmental and proprietary damages caused by the accident at the Samarco dam in Mariana. The plaintiff attributed the value of twenty billion reais to the cause.

This however, is just one of the thousands of actions filed against Samarco and its controllers , Brazilian Vale and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton since the accident. According to media outlet G1, in the city of Colatina, Espirito Santo, alone more than thirteen thousand civil suits for damages have been filed due to the toxic mud that contaminated the Rio Doce (Doce River) from the dam accident in Minas Gerais, all through the state of Espirito Santo to the Atlantic Ocean.

In May the Brazilian Federal Prosecutors Office (MPF) filed a civil suit against the three companies for R$155 billion for the damages. This civil suit came after an agreement between the mining companies and the state of Espirito Santo, where the companies agreed to pay R$4.4 billion in the next three years to help recover the Rio Doce Basin.

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