BHP Says Brazilian Court Approves Settlement for Samarco Dam Disaster

August 9, 2018 Updated: August 9, 2018

Mining heavyweight BHP said on Aug. 9 the federal court of Minas Gerais approved an agreement with Brazilian authorities that settled a 20 billion reais ($5.30 billion) lawsuit over the 2015 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 kilometers.

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

Samarco said on Aug. 8 it expects to obtain all licenses needed to resume operations by next year.

By Ambar Warrick