BHP Puts Up US$181 Million for Brazil Dam Efforts

By Robb M. StewartFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) has agreed to fund US$181 million toward its Brazilian iron-ore venture and the nonprofit set up to help with rebuilding and compensation after a disastrous 2015 dam failure.

The money will provide financial support to the Samarco business equally owned with Vale SA (VALE) and the Renova Foundation until June 30. It follows similar past funding from the Anglo-Australian mining company.

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In a statement Friday, BHP said US$48 million would be made available to Samarco to carry out ongoing repair work, support restart planning and cover fees to experts.

The bulk of the funding would go to the foundation to undertake remediation and compensation programs laid out in an agreement between the companies and Brazilian authorities in March 2016, and would be offset against BHP's provision for the Samarco dam failure.

In late November, BHP said the companies had been given a further 150 days to continue negotiating settlements to more than US$50 billion in public civil claims following the catastrophic dam burst in which 19 people were killed, villages were destroyed and hundreds of miles of rivers were polluted.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 21, 2017 17:24 ET (22:24 GMT)