Brazil’s government and Samarco Mineracao SA are meeting on Friday to finalize the settlement of a lawsuit for damages caused by a deadly dam spill at a mine in November, with the attorney general’s office saying the accord was 95 percent complete.
On Thursday evening, Brazil’s O Globo newspaper published a column saying Samarco, a joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton, had committed to provide 4.4 billion reais ($1.1 billion) between 2016 and 2018 and additional funds for another seven years.
A source close to the negotiations confirmed the figures were being discussed but told Reuters nothing had been signed yet.
The amount would be much less than the 20 billion reais the government was originally seeking when it first filed the lawsuit.
Regarded as Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, the burst tailings dam killed 19 people, forced hundreds to leave their homes and polluted one of the country’s main rivers.
In response to the O Globo report, BHP said early on Friday talks were continuing and no agreement had yet been reached.
“Significant progress has been made with the negotiations, and we are hopeful that an agreement will be reached,” it said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“If and when that happens, an announcement will be made.”
($1 = 3.9546 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Stephen Eisenhammer and Leonardo Goy in Brasilia, Sonali Paul in Melbourne; editing by Joseph Radford and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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