About Us

About Us

Samarco is a privately held company operating in the mining sector, a joint venture owned by Vale and BHP. With our principal place of business in Belo Horizonte (MG), we have operating units in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Our main product is iron ore pellets, the raw material for steel production in the steel industry. We have resumed operations in a different way, with new technologies and more safety, seeking to generate lasting value for the territories where we operate.

Our story

A project develops into a company

Samarco was born as a project in 1971, from the union of the companies Marcona Corporation and S / A Mineração Trindade (Samitri).

While Marcona had experience in iron ore concentration and pelletizing, Samitri owned the mining rights in the “Alegria Complex”, in MG, rich in itabiritic ore – low in iron content and never before explored in Brazil.

By investing in technology, they would transform itabirite, treated until then as waste, into a quality product, with an iron content of around 70%. In 1973 Samarco Mineração S.A was created, a pioneer in Brazil in the mining of low-grade iron ore and with its own integrated logistics operation, from the mine to the port. Operations began in 1977.

Innovation in ore transport

Ours was the first Company in Brazil to use a pipeline for ore transport, at the end of the 70’s, a unique logistic solution, offering both greater safety and lower socioenvironmental impact. Operations started on May 11th 1977, when the first batch of iron ore slurry was pumped to the coast.

The first product shipment from the Ubu Port was of pellet feed (iron ore fines) in August 1977, a milestone in our history.

Almost 400 km long, for over three decades our first pipeline was considered the longest in the world for iron ore transport. It crosses 24 municipalities, from the mine in Mariana (MG) to the pellet plant and seaport in Anchieta (ES).

Consolidation and evolution of our business

In 1977, Marcona Corporation, one of Samarco’s partners, became controlled by Utah International Inc., forming Utah-Marcona Corporation. The companies were purchased by General Eletric and, in 1984, by Australian mining company Broken Hill Proprietary Mining Company (BHP), which became the holder of 49% of Samarco.

In 1997, we opened a new pelletizing plant in Ubu and expanded the capacity of the Germano plant. In 2000, Vale bought Samitri. After an agreement with BHP, each company now holds 50% of Samarco. With the Third Pelletizing Project, completed in 2008, we inaugurated a concentration plant in Germano, a pipeline and a third pelletizing plant in Ubu. In 2014, we made the last expansion, with the installation of the fourth pelletizing plant in Ubu, a third concentrator in Germano and the third ore pipeline.

Dam failure and shutdown

On November 5, 2015, the Fundão dam broke. Immediately after the breach and over the next five years during which our operations were shut down, we continued to honor our commitment to remediation and compensation and implemented significant improvements in the company based on the lessons learned.

We improved the Integrated Safety System, risk management and prevention culture, in addition to investing in new technologies for tailings disposal.

Corrective Operating License

In October 2016, the environmental licenses for the Germano Complex (MG) were suspended. In order for them to become effective again, and for Samarco to be able to resume its operations, we were requested by the Minas Gerais State Secretariat for Environment and Sustainable Development (Semad) to carry out the corrective licensing process.

It was a complex process, which followed all the rites provided for in the legislation and had the participation of several actors, such as civil society, public authorities and regulatory bodies. Five public hearings were held, involving around 5,500 participants in total.

The Corrective Operating License (LOC) was voted and approved in a regular session by the Chamber of Mining Activities (CMI) of the State Council for Environmental Policy (Copam) on October 25, 2019. With the LOC, Samarco was in possession of all the necessary environmental licenses to restart its activities.

Operational restart process

Innovation is part of our history. Our company was created to transform something previously considered worthless into a high quality raw material. The resumption of operations will mark our history and demonstrate our new commitment to society: to do mining differently, with new technologies and greater safety, focused on contributing to the territories where we operate and to the country.

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A new Samarco

With the lessons learned, we are making the necessary changes to write a new history and rebuild trust-based relationships with society. We resumed our operations in a different way, with new technologies and more safety, seeking to always generate lasting value for the territories where we operate.

Since the approval of the Corrective Operation License (LOC), in October 2019, we have had all the environmental licenses required to resume our activities. However, we chose to wait until the implementation of the filtration system, completed in December 2020, which allows the dry stacking of 80% of the tailings generated. The remainder will be disposed of in a confined pit, which allows for natural and safer containment.

Our operational resumption is being gradual, initially at 26% of production capacity, with the reactivation of one of the three concentrators in the Germano Complex, in Mariana (MG), of one of the four pellet plants at the Ubu unit, in Anchieta ( ES), and operation of one of the pipelines.

We remain committed to seeking solutions that introduce innovations and improvements to our projects and operations, that strengthen the industry and contribute to a different and more sustainable mining.

Mission, vision and purpose

Mission

To optimize the transformation of mineral resources into value for society in a safe, efficient and innovative manner, today and in the future.

Vision

To be recognized for overcoming obstacles and rebuilding social, environmental and economic relationships.

Purpose

To perform different and sustainable mining, capable of generating results and building value for society.

Respect for people

We consider human life a non-negotiable value and we treat all people equally, not accepting discrimination of any kind, and we validate the free expression of ideas and opinions.

Integrity

We act strictly in compliance with laws and respect for moral principles, striving for dignity and ethics in relationships. We adopt an honest and transparent approach to all parties involved in our business.

Mobilization for results

We are aligned and committed to the company’s guidelines, goals and objectives, and to fulfilling its pledges to society, acting in a collaborative and systemic manner, with high-performance teams, in pursuit of the best global results for the business.

Safety

We base our conduct and attitudes on safety supported by the commitment to a broad and efficient risk management. The concept of safety permeates all aspects of business: financial, legal, operational, labor and environmental.

Shareholders

Samarco is a privately held company, a joint venture owned by BHP and Vale (with 50% equity interest each).

With global headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, BHP is a world leader in the extraction and processing of mineral, oil and gas resources, with more than 80,000 employees and service providers, primarily in Australia and the Americas. It is among the world’s leading producers of important commodities, including iron ore, metallurgical coal and copper. Its products are sold all over the world, with sales and marketing operations led by Singapore and Houston.

Based in Brazil and present in approximately 30 countries, Vale is a world leader in the production and export of iron ore, pellets and nickel. It is among the world’s main producers of several other minerals, such as copper concentrate, bauxite, alumina, aluminum, potassium, kaolin, manganese and ferroalloys. In addition to mining, the company operates in steel, energy and logistics – supported by railroads, ports, terminals and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

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