BHP has settled a class action over the fatal Samarco mine disaster

Aerial view of damage. Christopher Simon/AFP/Getty Images

BHP has settled a class action filed in the US over the fatal Samarco iron ore tailings dam disaster in Brazil.

The action had been filed in the US District Court on behalf of buyers of American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc between September 2014 and November 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement, BHP has agreed to pay the $US50 million ($A67 million) with no admission of liability.

BHP still faces another class action by disgruntled shareholders in the Federal Court in Australia.

A dam holding mining waste ruptured on November 5, 2015, sending a wall of mud downstream, leaving 19 dead and hundreds homeless in what has been described as Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

In 2016, BHP posted a $US2.2 billion ($AU2.8 billion) loss for the impact of the Samarco dam failure. Analysts calculated the impact from the mud slide would strip about 4% from BHP’s profits.

BHP, its partner Vale, the Federal Government of Brazil, the Brazilian states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais and other public authorities have entered into a Framework Agreement to settle a BRL20 billion ($UA7.1 billion) Civil Claim.

The parties have agreed to file a petition with Brazil’s Federal Court to dismiss that BRL20 billion claim and replace that with an arrangement to enhance community participation in decisions related to remediation and compensation programs.

Samarco Mineração is jointly owned by BHP Billiton Brasil and Vale S.A..

Federal Prosecutors in May 2016 started proceedings against Samarco, Vale and BHP Brasil for BRL155 billion ($AU55.3 billion) for social, environmental and economic compensation relating to the Samarco dam failure.

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