26 November 2015
BHP Billiton notes the range of media reports and public commentary on the composition of the tailings released from the Samarco Fundão dam, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 5 November 2015.
The tailings that entered the Rio Doce were comprised of clay and silt material from the washing and processing of earth containing iron ore, which is naturally abundant in the region. Based on available data, the tailings are chemically stable. They will not change chemical composition in water and will behave in the environment like normal soils in the catchment.
The National Water Agency (ANA) and Brazilian Geological Service (CPRM) are continuing to collect, analyse and report water and sediment samples in the Rio Doce.
Results from these samples on 14 November 2015 indicate “that concentrations of metals obtained at these sites do not significantly differ from the results produced by CPRM in 2010”. The results, published on 20 November, can be found online.
In addition, Samarco has issued a statement today indicating that further tests carried out by SGS GEOSOL Laboratórios after the incident confirm the waste from the Fundão dam is not hazardous to human health.
Samarco statements can be found at www.samarco.com and in other online channels.