SAO PAULO (Reuters) – There is little likelihood that Brazil’s Samarco iron ore mine, a joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Billiton, will restart operations next year even though it expects to have all of the required licenses, a BHP spokesman said on Tuesday.
The statement confirmed comments made by another BHP official, Bryan Quinn, in an interview with newspaper Valor Economico.
Quinn, an executive in charge of the company’s mineral joint ventures, told Reuters in a separate interview that restarting operations at the disaster-struck mine depends on an agreement with prosecutors on building a new tailing dam system.
Mining operations have stalled since 2015 when an existing dam burst, releasing a torrent of toxic mud that killed 19 people and left a trail of destruction for hundreds of kilometers.
Quinn said that despite receiving an environmental license eight months ago to build the tailing system, the company also needs to make a deal with federal prosecutors in Minas Gerais state to proceed.