The waste derived from the iron ore processing is not toxic and does not present any risk to the human health since it does not contain substances that can contaminate the water, even when exposed to rain. It is basically composed of water, iron oxide particles and silica (or quartz).
Analyses performed by SGS Geosol, a company specialized in environmental and geochemical soil analysis, attests that the reject from the Fundão Dam does not offer hazard to people, based on the material classification (ABNT 1004). The samples have been collected in several points around the location of the accident.
The tests have simulated situations, such as the waste handling by any person without special protection, exposure to rain for many years and contact with running water, such as floods. The material has also been analyzed taking into account its levels of acidity, neutrality or alkalinity (PH), its corrosion and the possibility of generating a violent reaction.
The presence of the following substances were also verified: aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, lead, cyanide, chloride, copper, chrome, iron, fluorides, manganese, mercury, nitrate, silver, selenium, sodium, sulfur, zinc, phenols, coagulants and flocculants. It is worth remembering that the materials found in the monitoring have always been present in the Doce River. With the passage of the plume, they moved and made way to the surface. Thus, some indexes are over the limit established by the legislation. The tendency is for the numbers to normalize as the plume accommodates.
Since the day after the accident in Mariana, we are working together with NGOs and volunteers of the region to rescue and accommodate animals isolated in the cities that were affected by the accident. Thousands of small and large animals are being watched by the teams.
Dogs, cats, pigs, horses among other species are sheltered in a structure of the urban area and farms. The animals are receiving veterinary care, proper nutrition and daily monitoring.
We are also making the distribution of inputs (corn, feed, cornmeal, crumbs and salt, among others) for the animals that are in the rural area.
Among the animals rescued, many were identified by the owners and taken to the homes where they are accommodated. Others will temporarily stay at warehouses and farms, with specialized staff monitoring.
We are condcting interventions in the dams of Germano and Santarém to reinforce the remaining structures and increase the safety factor. A multidisciplinary team is dedicated to the safety of dams, with internal and external experts dedicated to this work.
We also count on the monitoring of the area 24 hours a day, through radars, cameras, drones (aircraft equipped with remotely controlled cameras), instruments for measuring the internal level and pressure of water from dams, local daily inspections, carried out by technical staff, and visual monitoring room. For this work, more than 40 professionals Samarco take turns in shifts.
The plume is primarily composed of water and solid particles of iron oxide and silica (sand) or quartz derived from the iron ore processing. The floating solid particles give the water a cloudy aspect.
Actions for definite resettlement of families are under discussion between the company, impacted communities and competent bodies. Any decision in this aspect will be validated together, as well as all actions taken until now.
The company’s focus at this time continues to be the care for people and the mitigation of the consequences to the environment. The operations at the Germano Unit in Minas Gerais and the Ubu Unit in Anchieta, Espírito Santo, are paralyzed.
Therefore, a paid leave was granted to employees until the 29th of November, followed by collective vacations scheduled to return on January 4.
In December, the company signed a Conduct Adjustment Term with the Public Ministry of Labor of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, which guarantees not to dismiss these employees until the March 1, 2016. Until this date, the company did not terminate the provision of permanent service contracts
From the beginning, with the support of our shareholders, Vale and BHP Billiton, we mobilized all efforts to prioritize the care and integrity of the people who were at the scene or nearby.
At first, the families were placed in hotels and lodges in the region of Mariana until the process of transferring them to rented homes began, a temporary alternative to ensure better living conditions, until we have a definite solution.
In response to the recommendations of the Public Ministry, Samarco is also providing financial support to the families with monthly minimum wage salary for each household and an additional 20% of the minimum wage for each dependent, plus staple food. The aid was extended to riparians and fishermen who depended on the Doce River to survive. For this group, a monthly minimum wage salary will be paid, including 20% of the salary for each dependent and the equivalent to staple foods, in accordance with the DIEESE.
Know the stages on the delivery of houses.
Samarco hired the international consultancy company Golder Associates to map environmental impacts and outline the action plan for the recovery of the Doce River. Samarco teams continue their dedication to the work performed on the banks of the Doce River.
As a preventive action, species of fish and crustaceans in the regions of Baixo Guandu, Colatina, Linhares and Aimorés were rescued and sent to other water courses with characteristics similar to their original habitat. The work is carried out with the permission and monitoring of IBAMA.
In Colatina, 150 thousand fish were rescued by the Noah’s Ark project, an initiative led by fishermen and supported by Samarco. The species were transferred to lakes in the region.
To clean the waterways, the dead fish are being collected, and the carcasses are sent to properly licensed landfills.