A Minas Gerais state court in Brazil has revoked a decree from Brumadinho municipality that suspended Vale’s operating license after health agents said that the company’s onsite activities have “not respected the rules of social isolation.”
Brumadinho’s mayor Avimar de Melo Barcelos had also ordered the suspension of activities of Vale’s contractors and halted works to repair the Córrego do Feijão mine’s tailings dam that collapsed last year, killing 270 people.
In court, Vale argued that the decree was issued to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus, but had the main purpose of serving as retaliation for non-payment of emergency aid to the entire population of the city.
Residents protested Wednesday morning in Brumadinho and blocked one of the city’s entrances.
According to residents, only part of the population is receiving the emergency aid promised by Vale.
Vale said in a press release that the court decision allows the company to continue executing the works to repair and compensate the affected population.
“In the scenario of coping with the covid-19 pandemic, the company reaffirms its commitment to maintaining the adoption of the recommendations of health authorities to combat the contagion of the coronavirus,” Vale said.