Braskem to compensate 3,000 residents of the neighborhoods affected by minining in Maceió, court rules

Families living in the Flexais neighborhood and Marquês de Abrantes Street will receive US$ 2,540 per year

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo (SP) |
People protest against the mining company Braskem in Maceió, Alagoas state. - Mykesio Max/Comunicação MST

On Friday last week (19), the Justice determined Braskem to compensate 3,000 residents affected by rock salt mining in the city of Maceió. Since 2018, the company’s activities have already caused residents of 14,000 properties to leave them, besides the sinking of five neighborhoods in the capital city of Alagoas state. 

According to the decision issued by the 3rd Federal Court of Alagoas, Braskem will have to pay R$12,500 (about US$ 2,540) per year to those who own residential or commercial properties in the Flexais neighborhood and on Marquês de Abrantes Street, in the Bebedouro neighborhood.

For families who carry out or have carried out commercial activities in their own homes, the compensation will be BRL 15,000 (US$ 3050). The court's decision can be appealed.

In a statement sent to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo on Friday (19), Braskem said it will comment on the case but has not yet been officially informed about the sentence. The mining company also stated that it is already compensating residents of these places. 

The residents of Flexais are coping with social isolation after leaving the Mutange neighborhood, where there was the collapse of Braskem’s mine number 18, in Maceió

In the sentence, Judge André Luís Maia Tobias Granja, responding to a request by the State Public Defender's Office, considered that the isolation affecting the families started in 2020. Two years before, Braskem signed a term with the city of Maceió, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, the State Public Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Public Defender's Office, to change the situation of isolation, which did not occur.

Maurício Sarmento, a resident of Flexais and one of the coordinators of the Unified Movement of Victims of Braskem, said to Brasil de Fato that the sentence was welcomed, despite the Court not addressing all the demands the families regarded as important. 

“The judge's recognition that there is a right to fair compensation confirms the need for material and moral compensation for damages caused by the crime. We have not yet reached the amounts we consider to be closest to the [cost of the] damages, but we will appeal to seek this understanding in the courts," Sarmento said.

"As for the relocation, we will continue to look for evidence of subsidence in the area. The fight is not over," he adds.

Brasil de Fato visited Flexais in the midst of the imminent collapse of mine number 18, at the beginning of December 2023, and verified that many families are still waiting for relocation and have not even been compensated by Braskem’s Financial Compensation and Relocation Support Program. They are begging to leave the area. 

However, Braskem affirms that the neighborhood is part of the de-occupation area established by the Civil Defense, and that it “does not present soil movement associated with subsidence”. According to the company, until the end of December, BRL 46,9 million was paid to families in the isolated neighborhoods. 

Edited by: Geisa Marques