The BHP and Vale joint venture operation that resulted in one of the world’s worst environmental disasters in 2015 will recommence operation after receiving approvals for an environmental license from the Brazilian Government. On Friday Samarco Mineração, received a Corrective Operation License (LOC) for its activities in the Germano Complex, located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
BHP said last week that it had approved AUD $64 million as part of the restart to construct a filtration system that will eliminate the use of tailing dams. It says it will now use “dry stacking” technology to dispose of mining waste. The construction of the filtration plant is expected to take approximately 12 months from LOC approval. During this period, Samarco will continue its operational readiness activities, which include equipment maintenance.
It said last week in relation to the Samarco environmental licence that “Following the implementation of the filtration process, and subject to shareholder approval, the Company currently expects to restart its operations around the end of 2020.”
“With the approval of the LOC application, Samarco is authorized to restart operations, but first we want to adopt new filtration technologies that will increase safety, a key principle that guides our work for Samarco’s recovery and operations,” said CEO Rodrigo Vilela.
Samarco also reaffirmed its commitment to the communities and areas affected by the Fundão tailings dam rupture and noted that, through August 2019, around R$ 6.68 billion (~USD$1.94bn) have been allocated to the reparation and compensation measures.
In addition to the remediation efforts, resuming operations is expected to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais, providing jobs and economic benefits to these communities.
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