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By Jeffrey T. Lewis
SÃO PAULO--Iron ore giant Vale SA expects mining operations at the Samarco Mineracao SA mine, site of a tailings-dam collapse in 2015 that killed 19 people, to resume in 2020, chief executive officer Fabio Schwartzmann said Thursday.
Vale, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, owns half of the Samarco operation, and BHP Billiton Ltd. owns the other half. The mine, which has been shut since the disaster, was part of an operation that produced high-quality iron ore pellets that are cleaner to process, command a higher price and are increasingly in demand in world markets.
The companies signed settlements to lawsuits earlier this year, and Samarco has obtained a license to build another dam at the site, both of which help clear the way to make progress in restarting work at the mine, Mr. Schwartzmann said in a conference call with analysts.
Samarco will soon be in a position to request a license to resume operations, and if approved, production can start in 2020, Mr. Schwartzmann said. "That's why we're more confident," he said.
The collapse of the tailings dam, located in the town of Mariana in the state of Minas Gerais, was one of the worst such accidents in mining history. Apart from the deaths, the wave of water and mud destroyed villages and polluted more than 400 miles of rivers before spewing into the Atlantic Ocean.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 25, 2018 11:27 ET (15:27 GMT)
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