Second spill at Samarco site in Brazil

The Samarco mine in Brazil has experienced another spill at the site, only three months after the disaster that killed 17 people and caused devastation to waterways and a nearby village.

Around 150 workers had to be evacuated from the site after heavy rainfall caused a landslide at the BHP/Vale joint venture.

No people were injured in the most recent incident.

Samarco said the new landslide was smaller than the November disaster, and had not contained any mining residues or reached local waterways.

The company said that two dykes at the site, the Germano and Santarem dams, are “stable” and constantly monitored.

Samarco operations remain suspended, and mining rights at the site were declared “unavailable” by a judge in December.

Last year Samarco offered to pay at least $260 million towards environmental damage caused by the catastrophic dam collapse on November 5.

The Brazilian government is seeking approximately $US4.9 billion from Samarco to restore damage done to communities and the waterways.

BHP and Vale have denied they would be guarantors for Samarco, claiming the company is a separate entity, however BHP has said it will “do the right thing” in working with the government.

Brazil’s attorney general Luis Inacio Adams said no agent involved in the mine would be exempt from responsibility.

“The immediate responsibility lies with Samarco to cover the expenses, but the whole negotiation process involves investments from the controlling companies as a financial guarantee,” he said.

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