21 Sep 2009

Payment made in Ivory Coast chemical case

7:32 am on 21 September 2009

An international commodity trading firm is to pay more than $US45 million compensation to 30,000 people in Ivory Coast who say they were made ill by dumped chemical waste in 2006.

Trafigura, which has offices in London, Amsterdam and Geneva, said 30,000 people will each receive $US1546.

The BBC reports the money is in addition to almost $US200 million that was paid the Ivorian government in 2007.

However, the Toxic Waste Victims' Association is critical of the the agreement, saying the compensation is insufficient.

Trafigura has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to the incident, when chemical waste from a cargo ship it had chartered was dumped in Abidjan, the main city in Ivory Coast.

Thousands of people reported a range of similar symptoms, including breathing problems, sickness and diarrhoea in the weeks that followed.

Trafigura said it had been completely vindicated by the agreement.

However, the BBC reports the company still faces legal action in the Netherlands over the case.