November 16, 2015 / 4:13 PM / in 2 years

BHP Billiton says reviewing two other mining ventures after Brazil dam disaster

LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton said on Monday it is reviewing two other mining joint ventures, in Peru and Colombia, following a dam disaster at an iron ore mine in Brazil, which it jointly owns with Vale SA.

BHP told analysts and investors it was examining the structures of its Cerrejón coal joint venture in Colombia and its Antamina copper/zinc JV in Peru after the Brazil disaster.

Two dams collapsed on Nov. 5 in southeast Brazil, killing nine people and coating a two-state area with mud and mine waste.

The Brazilian mine is owned and operated by Samarco Mineração SA, a joint venture of Anglo-Australian BHP and Brazil's Vale.

"We will look into, for our own benefit ... the arrangements that we have at Samarco which mirror similar arrangements we have at Antamina and Cerrejón," BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie told a conference call.

BHP has two types of joint ventures where it does not operate the mines, he added, according to a transcript of his comments released by the company.

Under some ventures, mostly in its petroleum business, another party is the operator, while in Samarco, Cerrejón and Antamina, there is a standalone company that is jointly owned.

"That (second type) is the kind of arrangement we need to review and have been reviewing, to be honest, to decide ... whether a more petroleum-type model might be more appropriate in the future."

Cerrejón in Colombia, one of the world's largest open pit coal mines, is owned equally by BHP, Anglo American and Glencore.

Antamina is Peru's biggest copper and zinc mine. BHP and Glencore each have 33.75 percent stakes, while Teck Resources holds 22.5 percent and Mitsubishi Corp 10 percent.

Last week, Brazil's president slapped preliminary fines of 250 million Brazilian reais ($65 mln) against Samarco, and Brazilian federal prosecutors also announced plans to work with state prosecutors to investigate possible crimes that could have contributed to the disaster.

So far there have been nine deaths, BHP said on Friday, citing Samarco. State authorities said 19 people were still missing and most were likely buried in the heavy trail of sediment that was disgorged when the dams burst. ($1 = 3.8241 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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