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VBG B - VBG AB (publ) News Story

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Last Trade - 06/05/21

Sector
Industrials
Size
Mid Cap
Market Cap £387.1m
Enterprise Value £385.8m
Revenue £262.2m
Position in Universe 548th / 1831

UPDATE 1-West African court finds Guinea responsible for 2012 mine site killings

Tue 10th November, 2020 4:32pm
(Adds comment from plaintiff lawyer)
    JOHANNESBURG, Nov 10 (Reuters) - West Africa's top court
held Guinea responsible on Tuesday for the killing of six
villagers and the wrongful arrest, injury or torture of 15
others at a 2012 protest near an iron-ore mine project owned by
Brazil's Vale and an Israeli billionaire.
    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court
ruled that Guinea violated the protesters' human rights, and
ordered the state to pay the plaintiffs total damages of 4.56
billion Guinean francs, or $463,000. It also ordered the state
to cover the costs of the litigation.
    "Guinea violated the right to life, the right not to be
subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment, the
right not to be arrested or detained arbitrarily, and the right
to effective recourse," said Justice Gberi-Bé Ouattara, reading
the court's ruling.
    Guinea's mines minister did not immediately reply to a
request for comment. Guinea had argued during the case that the
state did not order the security forces to kill or torture
protesters, and therefore bore no responsibility for the deaths.
    On Aug. 3, 2012, Guinea sent troops and police to a site
near the mining project controlled by VBG, a joint venture
between Vale  VALE3.SA  and billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG
Resources (BSGR), after residents of nearby village Zogota
staged a sit-in.
    In the early hours of the following day security forces
opened fire. Some protesters who survived were later tortured in
custody.
    "Everyone is rejoicing today because compensation is going
to help people re-establish their lives," said Jonathan Kaufman,
executive director of Ghana-based Advocates for Community
Alternatives, which joined the lawsuit alongside the victims.
    "What the plaintiffs and the remainder of the community have
been crying out for for eight years is justice... in that sense
the court gave them everything they were asking for."
    Vale, the world's largest iron ore producer, denied blame
for the unrest: "Vale states that it never supported any form of
violence at Zogota," a spokeswoman said in a written statement
when asked to comment on the court ruling.
    "In 2012, the VBG encampment was invaded by protesters and
its installations were damaged. For reasons of security,
employees were removed in an orderly fashion, safeguarding the
physical integrity of the entire team. Thereafter, VBG complied
with its duty of informing the local authorities," she said.
    When asked to comment, a spokesman for BSGR referred Reuters
back to Vale, which operated the site at the time.

 (Reporting by Helen Reid, Additional reporting by Bate Felix in
Dakar, Saliou Samb in Conakry, Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro
Editing by Peter Graff)
 ((Helen.Reid@thomsonreuters.com; +27 66 156 5214;))
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