CORRECTED-Brazilian lawsuit over Samarco dam will struggle to match U.S. BP claim

lunes 9 de mayo de 2016 20:00 GYT

(In paragraph 24, removes reference to former Alumar asset)

* Prosecutors are challenging agreed $5.7 billion settlement

* Claim based broadly on analogy with massive BP Gulf oil spill

* U.S. environmental law much more specific than Brazil's

* Payouts are generally far lower than initial claims

By Stephen Eisenhammer and Barbara Lewis

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRUSSELS, May 9 (Reuters) - Any relief felt by the mining firms BHP Billiton and Vale over what looked like a final $5.7 billion settlement for the cost of last year's dam burst at their Brazilian iron ore mine must have evaporated when state prosecutors scoffed at the deal and last Tuesday filed a $44 billion claim of their own.

What is far from clear, however, is whether that number, based on little more than the analogy of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which will have cost BP some $40 billion in claims and fines, will bear scrutiny.

The prosecutors did not break down their claim into components, saying that "unless you want to assume that each millimeter of Brazil's environment is worth less than that in the United States, it is unacceptable that the valuation of damage caused by the defendant companies be less, prima facie, than $43.8 billion".   Continuación...