MELBOURNE (Reuters) - BHP Billiton said on Friday that no agreement has been reached yet with Brazilian authorities to fund clean up and damages for a dam burst that killed at least 17 people in that country's worst environmental disaster.
BHP put out a statement after an influential columnist for the O Globo newspaper said an agreement had been reached on Thursday, under which Samarco, owned by BHP and Brazil's Vale, has committed to provide a total of 4.4 billion Brazilian reais ($1.1 billion) between 2016 and 2018 and additional funds for a further seven years.
BHP said on Friday that talks were continuing.
"Significant progress has been made with the negotiations, and we are hopeful that an agreement will be reached," the company said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, reiterating comments made in its annual results on Tuesday.
"If and when that happens, an announcement will be made at that time."
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Joseph Radford)