The BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) share price will be one to watch this morning after the release of an update.
What did BHP announce?
This morning BHP provided an update on its Samarco operation in Brazil, which is co-owned with Brazilian mining giant Vale.
According to the release, Samarco has now met the licensing requirements to restart its operations at the Germano complex in Minas Gerais and its Ubu complex in Espírito Santo, Brazil. As a result, the mining giant has commenced iron ore pellet production.
This comes just over five years since Samarco’s operations were suspended following the failure of the Fundão dam on 5 November 2015. That dam failure led to the tragic loss of 19 lives at the operation.
Management advised that Samarco’s gradual restart of operations incorporates concentrator 3 at the Germano complex and pelletising plant 4 at Ubu. There will also be a new system of tailings disposal combining a confined pit and tailings filtering system for dry stacking.
Independent tests have been carried out on Samarco’s preparations for a safe restart of its operations. The company expects to initially produce approximately eight million tonnes of iron ore pellets per annum.
What has happened over the last five years?
The company revealed that extensive work is still being undertaken by the Renova Foundation to remediate and compensate for the damages of the failure of the Fundão dam in 2015 and that BHP Billiton Brasil continues to support Renova in its work.
By November 2020, Renova had spent approximately BRL 10.7 billion (approximately US$2.1 billion) on its remediation and compensation programs.
In addition to this, over the same period, approximately BRL 3.1 billion (approximately US$620 million) had been paid in indemnities and emergency financial aid to approximately 325,000 people.
Iron ore price softens.
Potentially offsetting this positive update is news that the iron ore price softened overnight.
According to CommSec, the spot iron ore price lost US$3.95 or 2.4% to end the session at US$163.05 a tonne.
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