Brazil dam disaster lawsuit against BHP Billiton, Vale, suspended – by Paul Kiernan(The Australian – March 17, 2018)

A Brazilian judge has suspended a nearly $US50 billion ($A65bn) lawsuit against the mining firms responsible for the 2015 Samarco tailings dam disaster, as negotiations between the companies and authorities moved forward.

The decision came as part of a ruling in which federal judge Mário de Paula Franco Júnior approved a road map toward a final agreement between prosecutors and mining companies BHP Billiton (BHP), Vale, and their joint-venture Samarco Mineração.

Brazil’s government, which brought the lawsuit, was not immediately available for comment but in the past has indicated its main concern was reaching a settlement and safely restarting the mine.

Federal prosecutors, regulatory agencies and the three companies have been locked in fierce litigation since Samarco’s Fundão tailings dam collapsed on November 5, 2015, releasing an avalanche of mine waste.

The incident is widely considered Brazil’s worst-ever environmental catastrophe and the largest failure of a mining dam.

For the rest of this article, click here: