BHP approves $44m to restart operations at Samarco iron ore mine

The world’s largest miner will restart operations at the iron ore mine in Brazil late next year

BHP has approved $44m (£34m, €39m) to restart work at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil, following the collapse of the Fundão dam on November 5, 2015, which killed at least 17 people.

The funding will go towards construction of a filtration plant over the next 12 months and the “commencement of operation readiness activities” for restart, the world’s largest miner said.

Last week the Mining Activities Chamber of the State Council for Environmental Policy in Minas Gerais, Brazil, granted a licence for Samarco to restart operations at its Germano Complex.

Samarco has now obtained all environmental licences required to progress towards operational restart which is set to begin in late 2020 with a capacity to produce between 7m to 8m tonnes of iron ore pellets every year.

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Restart can occur when the filtration system is complete and Samarco has met all necessary safety requirement. It will be subject to final approval by Samarco’s shareholders.

BHP and Brazilian miner Vale each hold a 50 per cent share of Samarco.

The current price of iron ore stands at $82.75, up 13.37 per cent from the same time a year ago.

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