UPDATE 3-Brazil expects $4.9 bln Samarco dam disaster deal by Friday

miércoles 17 de febrero de 2016 15:13 GYT

* Samarco could reopen this year if accord signed next week

* Environment agency says awaits tougher Samarco action plan

* Samarco says presenting new recovery plan on Wednesday (Adds that Samarco comment and its plan to submit new remedial plan on Wednesday)

By Anthony Boadle and Marta Nogueira

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government expects to reach an agreement by Friday with Samarco Mineração SA to settle a 20 billion-real ($4.9 billion) lawsuit for damages in a deadly dam disaster, Brazil's attorney general Luís Inácio Adams said on Wednesday.

If that deal is signed by next week, Samarco, shut since the Nov. 5 accident, could resume mining operations later this year, Adams said. Samarco is a 50-50 iron ore joint venture between Brazil's Vale SA and Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd

"The companies and state governments tell me that the environmental issues can be resolved quickly if the agreement is signed this month, in which case it is quite possible that the company can resume operations this year," Adams said.

Brazil sued Samarco after a dam at its mine in Brazil's Minas Gerais state burst, creating a tsunami of mud and waste that killed at least 17 people. The wave flooded hundreds of kilometers of river valleys in two states and eventually reached the Atlantic Ocean. The government considers the tragedy Brazil's biggest environmental disaster.

If an accord is reached by Friday, the agreement should be signed in the presence of President Dilma Rousseff and the state governors next week or by the end of the month, the attorney general's press office said on Wednesday.   Continuación...