Future of BHP and Vale’s Samarco joint venture remains uncertain – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – January 4, 2018)


The future of BHP Billiton’s stake in the Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil is unlikely to be resolved quickly, as the iron ore giant and its co-owner Vale inch towards a restart of the operation.

Reports out of Brazil on Thursday suggested that Brazilian giant Vale and BHP were holding talks on the future structure of the Samarco venture, which has been shut since a deadly dam failure in November 2015.

A Bloomberg report suggested that one option could see Vale acquire Melbourne-based BHP’s half-share and taking full ownership of Samarco.

While BHP did not comment on the report, it is understood that there are no talks afoot; just as Australian business takes an unofficial break between Christmas and Australian Day on January 26, Brazil’s business community is particularly quiet between Christmas and the carnival in Rio, which starts on February 9.

However, discussions will continue between BHP and Vale as they move slowly towards a settlement of the $60 billion legal claim made by Brazilian prosecutors, and a restart of the Samarco operations.

For the rest of this article: http://www.afr.com/business/mining/no-speedy-resolution-to-future-of-bhp-and-vales-samarco-jv-20180104-h0dj85