Trafigura, a Swiss trading company, has said it is nearing “a global settlement” in connection with a chemical disaster in Africa that was one of the worst in recent history.
The case began with the dumping of 500 tons of toxic waste in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in August 2006. The mixture of petrochemical waste and caustic soda killed 15 people, according to official estimates, and more than 100,000 were sickened by nausea and vomiting from the fumes.
The disaster, which brought down the Ivorian government, became a symbol of the dangers of globalization and the apparent cynicism of businesses in the developed world that export their toxic waste to poorer countries to avoid environmental regulations.
Trafigura said Wednesday that “a settlement is being considered by the parties and it currently appears that this settlement is likely to be acceptable to most, if not all, of the claimants.” Leigh Day, the law firm for the plaintiffs, did not immediately reply to requests for comment. A trial date in the case is set for next month, according to The New York Times.