RIO DE JANEIRO, June 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors are requesting mining companies Vale, BHP and their joint venture Samarco pay 3.6 billion reais ($667.73 million) for allegedly committing gender-based violations in the reparations process over a 2015 dam burst.


The new lawsuit comes as Vale and BHP hope to reach a tentative agreement by the end of this month with federal and state authorities to settle reparations over the disaster, with their offer currently standing at 140 billion reais.

The prosecutors claim the companies based reparations paid so far on a "patriarchal family" concept, violating women's rights, and requested that they also pay each of the affected women 135,000 reais, according to a document seen by Reuters.


"Since its beginning, the registration of victims has focused on the man as the head of the family – a methodology that, as a rule, placed the man as the generator of income and established that the other members of the family would only be his dependents," the prosecutors said.

"By largely ignoring women, registering them as dependents or 'helpers' of their husbands, the registration process made their work and economic activities invisible."


Vale and BHP said they have not yet been notified about the new lawsuit. Samarco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The November 2015 collapse of a tailings dam at a Samarco mine in the town of Mariana caused a wave of toxic tailings that killed 19 people. It left hundreds homeless, flooded forests and polluted the entire length of the Doce River. ($1 = 5.3914 reais) (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Editing by Bill Berkrot)