BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) and Vale have won a four-month extension from a Brazilian court to negotiate a settlement to a $47 billion (£36 billion) claim stemming from the Samarco dam failure in 2015, Reuters has reported. The Anglo-Australian miner has further approved a total of $250 million in financial support following the disaster which killed 19 people and caused severe environmental damage.
BHP Billiton’s share price has gained ground in today’s session, having added 0.71 percent to 1,198.00p as of 13:20 BST, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently 0.18 percent better off at 7,363.69 points. The group’s shares have added more than 27 percent to their value over the past year, but have given up some eight percent in the year-to-date.
Reuters reported today that a Brazilian court had given BHP Billiton and Vale until October 30 to negotiate a settlement to a $47 billion claim stemming from the Samarco mine disaster in 2015. The settlement date was originally set for June 30.
The news comes after in May last year, Brazilian federal prosecutors served the joint partners in the Samarco iron ore mine with a 155 billion Brazilian real ($47 billion) claim to pay for the social, environmental and economic costs of cleaning up the country’s worst environmental disaster.
BHP announced in a statemen today that it had approved $250 million in financial support, with $174 million to be used to fund the Renova Foundation for remediation and compensation programmes. A short-term facility of up to $76 million meanwhile will be made available to Samarco to carry out remediation and stabilisation work and to support the venture’s operations.
In analyst news, Credit Suisse reiterated its ‘neutral’ stance on BHP this week, with a price target of 1,380p on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 1,303.50p.