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BHP Billiton more than triples staffing in Brazil

has more than tripledits staffing in Brazil five months after the fatal Samarco dam disaster that killed as many as 19 persons, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote April 2.

Samarco is ownedand operated by Samarco MineraçãoSA, a joint venture between BHP Billiton venture and Brazil-based .

From eight peoplebased in Rio de Janeiro, BHP Billiton's Brazil operation has expanded to 30, includingChief Commercial Officer Dean Dalla Valle and senior mining executive Flavio Bulcao,who are both tasked to oversee a push to restart operations, the news organizationsaid.

Offices havealso been opened in Belo Horizonte, which is 70 miles from the company's Samarcointerests.

Once the jointventure restarts operations,it plans to produce approximately 19 million tonnes of iron ore a year, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, quotingSamarco interim CEO Roberto Carvalho.

Funding forthe cleanup and the debt obligations will be covered once operations resume at mine,which is expected to reopen by the beginning of the fourth quarter, Carvalho added.

Last month,BHP Billiton, along with Vale and Samarco, entered into a 15-year agreement with Brazilian authorities regarding therehabilitation of the dam.