Brazil’s mines and energy minister Fernando Coelho Filho has suggested a restart at Samarco is likely in March, after operations were deemed ‘feasible’ in 2017.
Production at the Vale and BHP owned Samarco project has been halted since November 2015, after a tailings dam burst which killed 19 people and flooded areas in two states in southeast Brazil.
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the Brazilian minister said a restart of the mine would “probably” happen in two months, according to Bloomberg.
Filho believed it would, “get back in business, having addressed all the environmental and legal problems” following what has been described as Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.
Late last year BHP said a restart of operations was “technically feasible” in 2017 “only if it is safe to do so and the necessary approvals are received from Brazilian authorities”.
However, the two-month mark may still be doubtful as a BHP spokesperson reconfirmed to The Australian that a restart in 2017 remains “technically possible”.
BHP and Vale entered a non-binding agreement last month allowing Samarco to use Vale’s Timbopeba tailings pit if operations commenced.
Both companies have faced a number of legal battles following the disaster; with the miner allocating $US1.2 billion to clean-up costs.