[caption id="attachment_1003723735" align="aligncenter" width="534"] Barra Longa was the town closest to the Samarco spill. It has been rebuilt and more than 100 streams and waterways that feed into the Rio Doce have been rehabilitated. (Image: Renova Foundation)
BRAZIL – It has been almost three years since the Brazilian government shut down the Samarco iron ore mine and pellet plant following a tailings dam failure in November 2015. One hundred fifty-seven thousand cubic metres of slurry escaped. It washed downstream in the Rio Doce and into the Espirito Santo state, reaching the Atlantic Ocean 600 km away. The flood was responsible for 19 deaths and tremendous property loss.
The Samarco mine is a joint venture of Vale SA
and BHP Billiton
. It had annual production of 30 million tonnes of iron pellets per year.
The operating company, state and federal governments have reached an agreement that is the first step toward negotiating a settlement. The agreement spells out improvements in governance for the Renova Foundation, created to help victims of the accident. The agreement also sets a two-year limit for settlement of a US$3.5 billion lawsuit. The eventual size of the settlement is yet to be negotiated.
A firm date for the restarting of activities at Samarco must also be negotiated. Vale has suggested that it may be later this year or early in 2019 at a reduced rate of 19 million t/y.
to learn about the work of the Renova Foundation.