Vale’s Samarco operation to reopen in 2017

Vale expects Samarco, its now-infamous joint venture with BHP Billiton, will obtain the appropriate licenses to renew operations by early 2017. Vale’s HR, Sustainability, and Corporate Integrity Executive Director Clóvio Torres divulged on 18 October 2016 Vale’s plan to use the exhausted pits of Samarco and Vale to deposit rejected iron ore, giving the Samarco operation at least fifteen more years of viability (Valor). Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Fernando Bezerra confirmed the renewal of operations in a session with Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi) in Tokyo, Japan (Folha). The joint venture, located close to Mariana, Minas Gerias, closed in November 2015 after its Fundão dam burst, releasing tons of toxic sludge into a tributary of the Rio Doce, the river that serves as the miner’s namesake (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce). The incident killed nineteen people, polluted the river, and forced Samarco to lay off almost 1,500 workers.