Court gives BHP, Vale until October 30 to settle $47 billion Samarco claim (Reuters U.S. – June 30, 2017)

BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) and Vale (VALE5.SA) have won a four-month extension from a Brazilian court to negotiate a settlement to a $47 billion claim stemming from the Samarco mine disaster in 2015, BHP said on Friday.

Brazilian federal prosecutors in May last year served the joint partners in the Samarco iron ore mine with a 155 billion Brazilian real ($47 billion) claim to pay for the social, environmental and economic costs of cleaning up the country’s worst environmental disaster.

“The Court has extended the final date for negotiation of a settlement until 30 October 2017,” BHP said in a statement. Nineteen people died and nearby towns were inundated with flood waters after a dam designed to hold back mine waste burst on Nov. 5, 2015.

The settlement date was originally set for June 30. BHP also said it had approved $174 million in financial support for the Renova Foundation, which was set up to help with the restoration of communities affected by the disaster.

Additionally, BHP said it is making available a short-term loan of $76 million to Samarco to conduct remediation and stabilisation work.

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