Samarco, a joint mining venture between Brazilian company Vale and BHP, is expected to restart its operations with limited capacity at the beginning of 2020.

Initially, production will resume at a third of its capacity and would gradually increase over the coming years.

According to Vale, the estimate is subject to the licensing process, for which discussions are still being carried out, and the approval of authorities.

On 5 November 2015, following the failure of the Fundao tailings dam at Samarco, operations were halted after one of the dams was collapsed.

The incident claimed the lives of 19 people and caused one of Brazil’s worst-ever environmental disasters.

The dam, which was designed to hold back mine waste from the Samarco iron pellets operation in Mariana, exploded and unleashed a trail of destruction across hundreds of kilometres in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo.

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“By the beginning of 2020, all issues will be overcome and it will be possible to resume operations.”

A representative of BHP said in August that the company may resume operations next year, although all the required licenses were expected to be in place.

Reuters quoted Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman saying at an event in Rio de Janeiro: “All indications are that there will be no problems and that, by the beginning of 2020, all issues will be overcome and it will be possible to resume operations.”

Earlier this month, Brazilian prosecutors in Minas Gerais said a final compensation deal was agreed by them with Samarco over the incident.