Canadian Mining Journal

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IRON ORE: Samarco restart delayed into 2018


BRAZIL – BHP Billiton of Australia has approved a total of US$250 million in financial support for the Samarco iron ore clean up through the end of this year. The company says operations are unlikely to restart this year.

Work is ongoing to strengthen and increase capacity of the dam damaged in November 2015. (Credit: BHP Billiton)

Samarco suffered a catastrophic tailings dam failure that resulted in the death of 19 people in November 2015. The disaster impacted not only local and downstream farmers and fishermen, but caused water shortages in 10 cities.

BHP’s monetary commitment is proportional to its share of the Samarco project. The other partner is Brazil’s Vale SA. The funds will be used by Renova Foundation and Samarco Mineracao to remediate the damage and to settle liability claims.

In January 2017, BHP and Vale entered into a preliminary agreement with the federal prosecutor’s office in Brazil that outlines the terms of negotiating a settlement arising from the dam failure. About US$47.5 billion and another US$6.1 billion will go towards resolving public civil claims against the operation. The agreement further provides for the appointment of experts to advise the federal prosecutors relative to environmental and socio-economic impact as well as review the remediation programs.

BHP published a presentation in January 2017 detailing the remediation work being done at Samarco. Read it by clicking here.