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FILE PHOTO: Pictures of victims are seen during a ceremony to mark one year of the disaster of the tailing dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais state, Brazil January 25, 2020. REUTERS/Cristiane Mattos/File Photo
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A Brazilian state judge has accepted charges against Vale SA former Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman and 15 others related to a fatal disaster at the iron ore miner’s Brumadinho tailings dam a year ago, according to a statement on Friday.
The move by a judge in Brazil’s mining heartland of Minas Gerais, follows charges filed by state prosecutors on January 21 accusing the former CEO and other 15 people of homicide.
The Brumadinho dam burst in January 2019 unleashed an avalanche of muddy mining waste which killed an estimated 270 people, burying many of them alive.
The prosecutors allege Vale, Brazil’s largest mining company, and German inspection firm TÜV SÜD systematically and intentionally hid information about safety issues at its tailings dams for years.
Reporting by Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Leslie Adler and Christian Plumb