Founded in 1977, Samarco is a closely held company. Its main product is iron ore pellets sold to the steel industry in countries in the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
The company with a 40-year history in the Brazilian mining sector has two operational locations: Germano, in Mariana and Ouro Preto (MG), where iron ore is extracted and beneficiated in three concentrators, and Ubu, in Anchieta (ES), where there are four pelletizing plants. The units are connected by three 400-km pipelines that cross 25 municipalities in two states.
Samarco produced 24.9 million tons of iron ore in 2015, the year that it froze its operations, of which 97% were in pellets and 3% in fines. In that same year, it was also the 12th largest exporter in Brazil, earning R$ 6.5 billion and generating around 6 thousand direct and indirect jobs.
Throughout its history, the company has always been praised for honoring its commitments to society and the environment and this conduct remains until today. It is for this reason that the Company expresses its dismay at the breach of the Fundão dam, in the municipality of Mariana, in November 2015.
The Fundão Dam break
The failure of the dam on November 05, 2015, caused environmental damage, impacting families in the region and other localities along the Doce River. We apologize for the damage caused to the communities and to the society and we are aware that all of our actions will not bring back the lives lost.
From the first day after the event, Samarco carried out actions to assist the people involved and to repair damages to the environment.
In order to establish its commitment to the social, environmental and economic recovery of the impacted regions, Samarco, together with its shareholders Vale S.A. and BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda., signed a Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Agreement (TTAC – the Framework Agreement) in March 2016, with the federal government and the governments of the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. TTAC provided for the creation of a foundation to remediate and compensate the impacts of the dam failure. Since August, Fundação Renova has been working on the continued development of the 42 remedial and compensatory programs outlined in the TTAC.
R$ 2.8 billion were spent between November 2015 and October 2017 in reparations and compensatory actions, which were assumed by the Renova Foundation in August 2016.
Samarco’s return to operations
Samarco needs two licenses to return to operations. The first is for a new location for tailings disposal (Cava de Alegria Sul). and the second is for the Operational Corrective License (LOC) for the Germano Complex, located in Mariana and Ouro Preto (MG). The company is committed to complying with all stages of these licensing processes which incorporate new solutions for tailings treatment, with increased safety and recirculation of water in the production process.
In addition to the licenses (SDR Cava de Alegria Sul e LOC), it will also be necessary to carry out some preparatory actions at the Cava de Alegria Sul and prepare for the new process of tailings treatment.
A date has yet to be set for Samarco’s return to industrial operations.
Click here and learn more about what is needed in order for Samarco to resume operations.