BHP Billiton has reached a near $A1 billion deal with Brazil's federal prosecutor to settle a civil claim over the fatal disaster at its Samarco joint venture.

Under the preliminary agreement, BHP, its joint venture partner Vale, and Samarco will pay approximately $US675 million ($A898 million) to support social and environmental programs, and another $US60 million ($A80 million) to local municipalities. The agreement, which is subject to court approval, is a response to a civil claim for…