BHP says Brazilian court approves settlement for Samarco

Samarco’s dam burst killed 19 people, wiped out several towns and polluted rivers. (Image by Romerito Pontes | Flickr Commons.)

Mining heavyweight BHP said on Thursday the Federal Court of Minas Gerais approved an agreement with Brazilian authorities which settles a 20 billion reais ($5.30 billion) lawsuit regarding the Samarco dam failure.

The company said it had separately agreed to pay $50 million as part of a settlement for a class action complaint filed by American depositary receipt holders over the disaster.

Samarco and parent companies Vale SA and BHP had signed a deal with Brazilian authorities in June regarding the 2015 dam failure.

Brazil’s worst environmental catastrophe killed 19 people. It happened when a dam designed to hold back mine waste burst, leaving a trail of destruction for hundreds of kilometres.

BHP still faces a class action in Australia over the dam failure.

Samarco said on Wednesday it expects to obtain all licenses needed to resume operations by next year.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Tait)

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