BHP Billiton, Vale closer to Samarco dam settlement – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 19, 2017)

BHP Billiton and Brazilian miner Vale have struck a preliminary agreement with Brazilian prosecutors, which lays out a path for a future settlement of the largest legal claim eminating from the Samarco dam disaster.

The dam disaster killed 19 people in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in November 2015, and as the owners of Samarco, BHP and Vale have been locked in legal negotiations with Brazilian regulators and prosecutors ever since.

​The Brazilian government agreed to a reparation and rehabilitation package worth 9.2 billion Brazilian Real ($3.7 billion) in March 2016, but that deal was suspended when independent federal prosecutors in Brazil lobbed a 155 billion Brazilian Real ($63.7 billion) claim in May 2016.

BHP said on Thursday that a “preliminary agreement” had been struck with the independent prosecutors, which was designed to deliver a settlement of the latter, larger claim by June 30, 2017.

“The preliminary agreement outlines the process and timeline for negotiation of a settlement of the (155 billion Real) civil claim relating to the dam failure,” said BHP in a statement to the ASX.

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