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Report: Samarco may get restart permit by September

Samarco Mineração SA may secure an official permit by mid-September to restart the Samarco iron ore operations in 2020, Bloomberg News reported July 31, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

The press department of the Minas Gerais state's environmental agency confirmed that the license will likely be granted in the second half, the newswire added. A Samarco spokesperson declined Bloomberg's request for comment.

The mine has been halted since a tailings dam burst killed 19 people in November 2015. Joint venture owners BHP Group and Vale SA reached a final compensation deal for the victims' families in October 2018.

Samarco will also resume negotiations with creditors in October to restructure about US$3.5 billion of defaulted debt following the license renewal, the source said. The talks were delayed after a similar dam disaster at Vale's Feijao mine killed about 300 people.

Former Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman, who was removed in March in the wake of the Feijao disaster, had said Samarco may restart at a third of its 30 million-tonne annual capacity by early 2020.