Mining company in Brazil dam burst reaches deal over repairs

RIO DE JANEIRO – The mining company involved in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster has reached an agreement with local government and public prosecutors to hire an independent auditor to monitor its repair work.

Under terms of the deal with officials from Minas Gerais state, Samarco must set out new emergency measures in the event of further collapses in its dam network. The company must also keep a helicopter on 24-hour standby for rescue teams.

Samarco is a joint-venture of mining giants Vale and BHP Billiton.

At least 17 people were killed when a massive wave of debris from an iron-ore mine broke through the Fundao dam on Nov. 5. The mud polluted hundreds of miles of waterways in two states in southeastern Brazil, devastating wildlife.