Mining company BHP Billiton has confirmed that Samarco has signed a commitment with Brazilian authorities to provide US$260M for an emergency fund following the incident at its iron ore operation on 5 November 2015. This will guarantee the allocation of money for a range of emergency measures including prevention, mitigation, remediation and compensation for environmental and social effects of the incident.

Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, said that the company recognises it has a responsibility to support Samarco and the local authorities in the response effort.

“I can assure you," he stressed, "that I am absolutely determined that we will fully play our part in the response. We have a growing team on the ground – that’s BHP Billiton – including geotechnical, disaster relief and humanitarian response experts, senior health and safety executives, environmental scientists and a number of other support staff. And they’re working, and will continue to do so…to determine what additional resources we can provide to support local authorities and Samarco’s response effort, now and over the longer term."

The Samarco operations includes a three tiered tailings dam complex and two of these were affected.