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BHP Billiton, Vale: Samarco settlement ratified

and said that on May 5,Brazil's Federal Court of Appeal ratified the 15-year agreement entered into byjoint venture Samarco Mineração SAfor the rehabilitation of the damage causedby the Samarco damdisaster, according to separate statements released May 5 and May 6.

The agreement,which was announced March2, will see Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton unit BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda establish a foundation that willimplement a wide range of programs to address the social, economic and environmentalconsequences of the Nov. 5, 2015, dam burst.

The foundationwill be funded by Samarco in the amount of 2 billion Brazilian reais in 2016 and1.2 billion reais in each of 2017 and 2018. The annual contributions for 2019 to2021 will range from 800 million reais to 1.6 billion reais, depending on the projectsthat will be undertaken during each year.

According toMarilene Ramos, president of Brazil's federal environment agency Ibama, the companiescan now begin implementing the programs outlined in the ratified agreement.

The ratification comes after prosecutors filed a 155 billion reais civil lawsuit against the companies.The action challenges the agreement, as prosecutors believe that the settlementis insufficient.

As of May 5, US$1 was equivalentto 3.54 Brazilian reais.