VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – A Brazilian federal court has given mining giants BHP and Vale an additional 66 days to resolve a multibillion-dollar settlement regarding their joint venture Samarco mine’s tailings dam failure in 2015, that killed 19 people and is billed as the country’s worst environmental disaster.
BHP and Vale must negotiate a settlement of the $47.6-billion and $6.1-billion public civil claims relating to the dam failure by June 25.
The companies also stand to answer federal criminal proceedings against 22 individuals – 21 of which face charges related to ‘qualified homicide’.
The companies in November also received a 150-day extension to negotiate the settlement.
The partners have also agreed to an interim security bond valued at about $395-million in insurance bonds, $30-million in liquid assets, and a charge of $245-million over Samarco's assets.
Operations at Samarco remain suspended as talks continue with the government to obtain the required environmental licences, but media reports have stated that Vale is optimistic about Samarco restarting later this year, with a reduced BHP participation being rumoured.