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Vale informs on Samarco operations

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Global Mining Review,

Vale has informed that Samarco commenced, on 28 December 2020, the gradual resumption of its operations, with the integrated restart of operations at the Germano, located in Mariana, Minas Gerais, and Ubu, located in Anchieta, Espírito Santo, Complexes.

Samarco's operations restarts with 7 – 8 million tpy production capacity with the use of one of three concentrators to beneficiate iron ore in Germano Complex and one of four pellet plants in the Ubu Complex, representing 26% of Samarco's productive capacity.

The integrated restart of operations occurs after an extensive commissioning tests, ensuring a safe resumption after 5 years. Samarco will use new processes for tailings disposal, reflecting its commitment to a sustainable restart and operational safety.

Following the Corrective Operation License (LOC), received in October 2019, Samarco expects to be able to restart a second concentrator in approximately 5 years to reach a range of production of approximately 14 – 16 million tpy, and the restart of the third concentrator could happen in around 9 years, when Samarco expects to reach production volume in a range of approximately 22 – 24 million tpy.

New processes

Samarco restarts its operations using new technologies for dry tailings stacking. With the filtration process, Samarco expects to be able to substantially dewater sand tailings, which represent 80% of total tailings by volume, and stack these filtered sand tailings in piles safely. The remaining 20% of tailings are planned to be deposited in Alegria Sul pit, a self-contained bedrock structure, which increases safety.

Additionally, Samarco is progressing in the decommissioning of Germano dam, following the safety standards required. Committed to the stability and safety of its geotechnical structures, Samarco operates the Monitoring and Inspection Centre (CMI), which operates in real time.


Vale, BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda and Samarco continue to focus on the integral reparation of people and areas affected by the Fundão dam rupture. The Renova Foundation is responsible for carrying out programmes to repair the social and environmental impacts and by October 2020 had paid in indemnities and emergency financial aid to more than 321 000 people. Since 2015, approximately R$10 billion have been invested in the 42 programmes agreed in the Term of Transaction and Adjustment of Conduct (TTAC), of which R$9 billion have been invested in remedial actions and R$1 billion in compensatory actions. For 2021, Renova's programmes and actions are expected to reach R$5.9 billion.

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