Samarco sees risk of collapse of two more dams at iron ore mine

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 23:50:57 (GMT+3)   |   Sao Paulo

Samarco, a 50/50 JV between Brazil’s Vale and BHP Billiton, said two more dams at the deadly iron ore mine that burst earlier are at risk of collapsing.

According to the company, the Santarem and Germano dams are currently at risk of collapsing, but the company guaranteed it is adopting emergency measures to avoid a new burst.

“There’s a risk [of collapse of these two dams] and we, as a way to reinforce security and reduce the risk, are taking the needed emergency actions,” Samarco’s general manager for structural projects, Germano Lopes, said at a press conference.

Kleber Terra, the company’s infrastructure and operations director, added the security factor of the Santarem dam is currently at 1.37 points, in a scale from 0 to 2, in which 1 is considered “balanced”.

At the Selinha dyke, located at the Germano dam, the security factor is at 1.22 points, the lowest level in the entire complex. Lopes said the Fundao dam, one of the dams to fail, had a security factor of 1.58 points.

Samarco said emergency actions will last for up to 90 days, clarifying that only the Fundao reservoir collapsed, instead of two dams – Fundao and Germano – as previously reported by the company.

The company also agreed to pay a preliminary BRL 1 billion ($262 million) fine imposed by local prosecutors, as a way to cover the cleanup costs and compensation after the burst earlier this month.

Samarco will pay the fine in two equal installments of BRL 500,000. The first will be paid in ten days.

A media report said the occurrence caused damages worth $2.6-3.7 billion.

Samarco may face additional fines as a result of the dam burst.

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