Mining giants Vale and BHP are set to restart the operation of the Samarco iron ore facilities more than five years after the environmental tragedy that saw 43.7 million cubic metres of mine tailings flood river systems and displace thousands of people after the tailings dam wall failed.
Vale confirmed in a statement today that it plans to gradually resume Brazilian operations at the Germano, located in Mariana, Minas Gerais, and Ubu, located in Anchieta, Espírito Santo complexes with production likely to result in 7-8 mtpa of concentrate.
It confirmed that the “integrated restart of operations occurs after an extensive commissioning tests, ensuring a safe resumption after five years. Samarco will use new processes for tailings disposal, reflecting its commitment to a sustainable restart and operational safety.”
The company said it will continue its plan to restore the livelihood of locals impacted by the failure. Extensive works have been completed by the Fundaocao Renova Foundation which show that the area of the disaster has been transformed extensively. 670 kilometres from Mariana to Linhares at the mouth of the Doce River have been subject to remediation works.
The Renova Foundation (till September 2020) paid out more than R$2.65 billion (AUD$ 635M) in indemnities and aid to more than 321, 000 people associated with the incident.
A further BRL 10 Billion has been invested in programs resulting in remedial actions from the tailings dam disaster.
Vale & BHP Billiton Brasil Ltd and Samarco said that it will “continue focused on the integral reparation of people and areas affected by the Fundão dam rupture.”
“The integrated restart of operations occurs after an extensive commissioning tests, ensuring a safe resumption after five years. Samarco will use new processes for tailings disposal, reflecting its commitment to a sustainable restart and operational safety.”
Samarco expects to reach production volume in a range of approximately 22-24 Mtpa in a period of 9 years.
What happened in the Samarco tailings dam disaster?
The Samarco dam disaster, occurred on 5 November 2015, when the Fundão tailings dam at the Germano iron ore mine of the Samarco Mariana Mining Complex near Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, suffered a catastrophic failure, resulting in flooding that devastated the downstream villages of Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo (40 km (25 mi) from Bento Rodrigues), killing 19 people. The extent of the damage caused by the tailings dam collapse is the largest ever recorded with pollutants spread along 668 kilometres (415 mi) of watercourses. (Extract from Wikipedia)
You can access the report into the tailings dam disaster HERE
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