SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO – An in-depth internal report examining the causes of Vale SA's deadly Brumadinho tailings dam disaster last year contained "no new facts, nor surprises," the company's general counsel said on Friday.
Late on Thursday, Vale released the report, which said the company had information as far back as 2003 pointing to the fragility of the B1 dam in Minas Gerais, which burst in January 2019 and killed at least 270 people.
But steps taken to deal with the problem and heighten the dam's security were limited and ineffective, according to the report by a committee led by former Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gracie.
"Regarding yesterday's report, the independent committee didn't really bring any new facts, nor surprises to the table," General Counsel Alexandre D'Ambrosio said, when an analyst asked about the report's potential impact on the firm.
"The report is based on the same information that prosecutors and police have already had access to," he said.
Executives also said that they could add an additional $1-billion to $2-billion in provisions related to the disaster, depending on the course of negotiations with authorities.
The market is closely monitoring Vale's reputation, as well as its eventual liabilities related to the disaster, the second deadly dam burst the firm experienced over a four-year period.
On Thursday, the firm also released fourth quarter results, which hit top-line forecasts, but were heavily bogged down by impairments.
Brazil-listed common shares in the miner were down 3.2% in morning trade, while Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index was off 1.4%.
Vale is working to restart dividend payments after a roughly year-long pause following the deadly dam burst, its CEO Bartolomeo said on the Friday call. He added that new dividend payouts would likely be similar in structure to Vale's pre-Brumadinho disaster payouts.
Bartolomeo said as recently as December that it was too early to discuss resuming dividend payments and that the company was fully focused on cleanup and reparations.