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Samarco SA
Sociedade Anônima
Industry Mining
Founded 1977; 41 years ago (1977)
Headquarters Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Area served
Minas Gerais
Espírito Santo
Key people
Ricardo Vescovi (president)
Products Iron ore pellets
Owner Vale (50%)
BHP Billiton (50%)
Number of employees
approx. 2000[1] (2009)

Samarco Mineração S.A. is a Brazilian mining company founded in 1977. It is currently a joint-venture between the Brazilian Vale and the English-Australian BHP, each one holding 50% of the company's stocks.


Samarco is hosted in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. It has offices and mining facilities in Mariana and Ouro Preto, as well as in cities of Espírito Santo, such as Anchieta, which hosts the Ponta Ubu unity.

Environmental disaster[edit]

A village flooded in the Bento Rodrigues dam disaster (2015).
Ricardo Vescovi

On 5 November 2015, two dams in Mariana owned by Samarco that contained by-products of iron mining collapsed.[2] The accident caused many casualties in the district of Bento Rodrigues and its surroundings. The mix of contaminated water and mud has flowed to nearby rivers, including the Rio Doce, an important river for the southeast regions of Brazil. The water contamination lead to suspension of water supply in several cities that depend on the water of the Doce River. This incident has been considered as the biggest environmental accident in the history of Minas Gerais. [3]

As a consequence of the disaster, the Brazilian government suspended the company's activities. [4]

In Brazil, Samarco/Vale is involved in the financing of dozens of political campaigns in numbers that reach R$ 80 million just during the 2014 general elections, and many of these same politicians are now tasked to investigate the company's responsibilities on the disaster and set the amount of fines.[6][7]

In June 2016, Samarco has not achieved any of the 11 emergency actions, according to IBAMA. Among this 11 actions defined to minimize the environment damage, only 4 have been partially achieved, and the others 7 were not fulfilled. Still according to IBAMA, “the documentation delivered by SAMARCO refers to isolated areas without any integration between them”. “Considering the magnitude of the disaster, has not been presented a strategic planning with emergency operations schedule for the way between the area of the event and the hidroeletric plant Risoleta Neves.” “It’s been seven months since the disaster, the company should already have taken emergency actions related to the mitigation of the effects.” [8]

Notes and references[edit]