BHP, Vale get extension to settle $48 billion Samarco claim

FILE PHOTO: A cupboard is pictured in debris in Bento Rodrigues district, which was covered with mud after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst, in Mariana, Brazil, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo

(Reuters) - BHP Billiton Ltd BHP.AX and Vale SA VALE5.SA have secured a 150-day extension from a Brazilian court to negotiate a settlement of a $48 billion claim stemming from the Samarco mine disaster in 2015, BHP said on Tuesday.

The settlement date, which had been set for Nov. 16, has been extended to April 20, 2018.

Nineteen people died and nearby towns were inundated with flood waters after a dam designed to hold back mine waste burst on Nov. 5, 2015, causing Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.

BHP and Vale also entered into an amendment agreement that brings the Brazilian prosecutors into the preliminary agreement regarding the settlement of the mine disaster claims, BHP said.

The amendment agreement is subject to approval by the Brazilian court, BHP added.

BHP shares rose 0.2 percent in early trade, in line with the benchmark index .AXJO.

Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin