Samarco, the joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton, has reached a deal with the Brazilian government that could cost it as much as R$30 billion (US$7.7 billion) following a dam collapse that killed at least 17 people and triggered the country's worst environmental disaster.
President Dilma Rousseff said on Wednesday that Samarco would pay R$4.4 billion over the next three years to fund the clean-up operation as part of a settlement of the country's lawsuit against the miner. After 2019, Samarco will spend an estimated R$1.2 billion per year, paying out as much as R$20 billion, Ms Rousseff said.
Samarco will also have to pay out R$4.1 billion over 15 years in compensation for the disaster, which killed at least 17 people and unleashed a tsunami of waste-filled mud across two states, potentially bringing the total cost of the deal to more than R$24 billion.
However, Ms Rousseff said there was no limit or ceiling for how much the company would have to pay to fix the socio-economic and environmental damage of the dam's collapse in Brazil's Minas Gerais state.