Samarco has restarted iron ore pellet production after meeting the licensing requirements to restart operation in Brazil, according to a press release by the BHP group. The company’s operations were suspended in November 2015, following the failure of Fundão dam. BHP Billiton Brasil and Vale each hold a 50pc interest in Samarco.
Samarco’s gradual restart of operations includes functioning of concentrator No. 3 at the Germano unit, pelletising plant No. 4 at Ubu and a new tailings disposal and filtering system. Independent tests verified Samarco’s preparations for a safe restart.
The company expects initial production of approximately 8mn mt of iron ore pellets annually.
International iron ore prices have peaked to $170/mt (cfr China) this week amid strong demand from China. The same level was last recorded in 2011. According to World Steel Association’s latest report, China’s crude steel production rose to 87.66mn mt, up by 8pc in November from the prior year.