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BHP confident in reaching Mariana disaster settlement

BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) executives are optimistic about settling reparations for the Mariana tailings dam collapse in 2015.

The dam collapse at the Samarco iron ore mine near the town of Mariana in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais caused a vast flow of mud and mining waste that buried a nearby village, killing 19 people and leaving hundreds homeless.

BHP executives told the Poder 360 news portal that they believe the conclusion of the negotiations is near.

Emir Calluf Filho, Vice President Legal of BHP Americas, said that the gap between the proposals of the Brazilian authorities and the companies has narrowed significantly in the latest rounds of negotiations and that there are currently more convergences than divergences.

Last week, Vale (NYSE: VALE) and BHP, along with their joint venture Samarco, presented Brazilian authorities with a new offer to settle reparations.

The new proposal totals 140 billion reais ($26.1 billion), including 37 billion reais already disbursed in reparation measures.

The new offer is 13 billion reais ($2.4 billion) higher than the previous one, presented in December.

Calluf Filho said that the negotiation goes beyond the monetary values and is technically complex.

Currently, the Renova Foundation, created to assist the companies in the reparation work, maintains 42 programs in the affected regions, encompassing 360 actions.

“Each of these actions needs to be addressed. What will be done, for example, with a spring restoration project? Will it continue? Will we pay? Will the government do it? So, it is very technical. We now have the maturity to exhaust the technical issues. We spent years discussing these aspects, and we are now much more mature and convergent,” he said.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More