RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Samarco, a joint venture between Brazilian miner Vale and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton, could reach the second phase of a settlement with Brazilian prosecutors over a 2015 environmental disaster on Monday, a federal prosecutor said.
The mining disaster, Brazil’s worst on record, was caused by the bursting of a tailings dam and killed 19 people. Samarco’s operations have been suspended since then.
“This deal we are negotiating is aimed at perfecting the governance system of (a prior agreement), creating reports and damage assessments and empowering those affected,” Brazil’s federal prosecutor for the case José Adércio Sampaio said, without offering details.
Sampaio told Reuters in November that reaching a final deal, including a final settlement figure, could take up to two years.
Even a partial deal with prosecutors would represent a key step forward for the beleaguered miner. But it still faces a hefty debt load and little clarity on when it might receive key permits to resume operations.