Samarco restart ‘unlikely’ in 2017: BHP

Remediation at Samarco Image: Samarco

BHP has conceded it is unlikely that the Samarco iron ore operations in Brazil will restart in 2017.

Samarco, a joint venture between BHP and Vale, was the site of a tailings dam collapse in November 2015. The incident left 19 people dead, as well as farmlands and towns destroyed.

The miner reported on Friday that a restart of operations at Samarco is subject to the joint venture securing regulatory approvals.

A restart would also only occur if it was deemed safe, economically viable and had the support of the community, BHP added.

“Resuming operations would also require government approvals, the granting of licenses by state authorities and the restructure of Samarco’s debt. Accordingly, operations at Samarco are unlikely to restart in calendar year 2017,” BHP outlined in an ASX announcement.

BHP has approved $US250 million ($325.2 million) in financial support for the Renova Foundation and Samarco Mineração S.A to help clean up the site.

It will use $US174 million to fund the Renova Foundation for remediation and compensation programs in the region.

The remaining $US76 million will be made available to Samarco to undertake remediation and stabilisation work and to support the mine operations.

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