BHP, the world's largest mining company, is seeking a settlement regarding a Brazilian dam disaster.

Reports say a settlement could potentially amount to billions of dollars in liabilities. 

The disaster, which occurred in November 2015, involved the collapse of a tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore complex in Brazil, resulting in 19 fatalities and extensive environmental damage.

BHP and its joint owner, Vale, were sued for $48.6 billion in compensation by federal prosecutors in Brazil, and a settlement is now being sought with Brazilian authorities. 

BHP's Vice-President for Legal Affairs for the Americas, Emir Calluf, says negotiations are well underway, with a possible deal by year-end.

While the exact compensation amount remains undisclosed, it may also include further reparations. BHP faces a separate case in the UK, with potential damages estimated at $68 billion, but hopes a Brazilian settlement will cover all legal cases.

Renova, a non-profit foundation established to address the disaster, has spent approximately $5.4 billion so far, with funding obligations falling on Samarco, backed by BHP and Vale if needed.

BHP has reportedly engaged in discussions with Vale and Samarco for a potential settlement. 

Mr Calluf says Samarco would remain the primary party in any settlement, with BHP and Vale providing supplementary resources as required.

Resolving claims related to the Mariana disaster would be a significant step in addressing the reputational damage to the companies and concerns over dam safety in the mining industry.

In 2019, Vale experienced a similar dam rupture in Brazil, causing 270 deaths. 

Vale has confirmed ongoing negotiations regarding the Mariana agreement, emphasising their commitment to repairing the damage caused by the dam collapse. 

Meetings are scheduled throughout the month to explore definitive solutions.