Luiz Eduardo Osório, the director of institutional relations and sustainability at Vale, celebrated the deal at a ceremony Thursday. “This is the result of months of open dialogue between Vale representatives and members of the government,” he said, pointing out that the company had “heard the wishes of Minas Gerais people.”
Still, many in Brumadinho were dissatisfied with the results of the negotiation, saying they felt excluded from the process. Roughly 150 people protested at the doors of the state court where the deal was signed Thursday, saying it excluded the tragedy’s victims. “Vale and the state do an unfair deal,” one sign read.
Jarbas Soares Júnior, the state’s chief prosecutor, stressed that the deal does not impact other proceedings filed against Vale and its executives, which include corruption and homicide charges. Last year, a state judge agreed to hear a case that charged 16 people.
Mr. Soares Júnior said the deal was the best they could reach, to avoid a lengthy suit in Brazil’s famously slow court system.
“This deal demonstrates that preventive measures done with care are a better option for companies,” he said.
Family members of victims said they were not comforted by the settlement announcement.
Flávia Coelho, 34, said the day was one of mourning, not celebration. It has been two years since she buried her father, Olavo, who died at the dam days after he had warned his superiors that a disaster was imminent.
“He gave 40 years of honest work to a criminal company,” she said in an audio message. “Let them not forget our deal, which isn’t about billions, but justice and honor to the workers who lost their lives.”
Manuela Andreoni reported from Rio de Janeiro and Letícia Casado from Brasília.