Brazil blocks mining giants' assets

Dec 19, 2015, 11:17 PM EST

A federal judge in Brazil has blocked the assets of mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale in the country over the deadly collapse of a dam.

The BBC writes:

The joint-venture company they own, Samarco, does not have enough resources to cover the potential damages, estimated at 20.2bn reais ($5.2bn; £3.4bn), the judge ruled. Samarco owned the dam, which held back waste water from iron ore mining. It burst last month, flooding a vast area and killing at least 13 people. Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton and Vale, from Brazil, said they had not been officially notified. Judge Marcelo Aguiar Machado's ruling was published on Friday. The two companies will also have to implement "immediate damage-mitigating environmental measures" or they will be liable to a daily fine of 150m reais ($38m; £25m), ruled Judge Machado.