Vale Mining and the U.S. SEC Settle

Jonathan Brun

What you say matters. This is especially true if you are a publicly listed company in the United States.

Three weeks ago, the SEC announced a settlement with Vale (Brazil) regarding its false statements in public documents concerning the safety of its dams in Brazil. The statements regarding inspections of these dams were made in sustainability reports and could not be substantiated through evidence or an internal audit trail. After the dam collapse, Vale was liable in the United States even through the industrial accident took place in Brazil.

This is an important message for all EHS, ESG and Sustainability professionals – what you say really does matter when it comes to operational compliance at your operations. Can you prove that your teams around the world are following regulations, standards and staying up-to-date? Can you prove audits and inspections are being done and corrective actions are being completed? If not, then your organization may be liable to substantial fines and penalties.

To improve your audit trail and records of your compliance efforts, do not hesitate to contact Nimonik who wrote about the VALE sustainability liability case in the fall of 2022.

From the SEC:

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Vale S.A., a publicly traded Brazilian mining company and one of the largest iron ore producers in the world, agreed to pay $55.9 million to settle charges brought last April stemming from the company’s allegedly false and misleading disclosures about the safety of its dams prior to the January 2019 collapse of the Brumadinho dam that killed 270 people. The SEC’s complaint alleged that, for years, the dam did not meet internationally-recognized safety standards even as Vale’s public sustainability reports assured investors that all of its dams were certified as stable.

Full SEC Statement on VALE Mining Settlement here.