© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Brucutu mine owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA is seen in Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo, Brazil February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Washington Alves/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday said Brazilian miner Vale SA (NYSE:) violated securities laws by making false and misleading disclosures about the safety of its dams ahead of a 2019 disaster that killed 270 people.
Beginning in 2016, Vale manipulated dam safety audits, obtained fraudulent stability certificates and misled local governments, communities and investors with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures, the SEC alleged in a statement and court filing.
Vale did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
In January 2019, the company’s dam in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho burst, unleashing a river of toxic mining waste that crushed a Vale dining hall and destroyed parts of the nearby countryside.
Vale, one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, allegedly knew for years that its Brumadinho dam did not meet internationally-recognized standards for dam safety, the SEC said.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in New York, charged Vale with violating anti-fraud and reporting provisions of U.S. securities laws.
Vale shares turned negative on news of the SEC charges.