Samarco Mineracao has started commissioning process at the Germano Complex in the Brazilian state Minas Gerais, marking the restart of operations at the site after more than five years following the Fundão dam tragedy.

The company now expects to restart operations at the iron ore mine in late December, reported Reuters.

Samarco has started the ramp-up of two concentrating plants, while completing construction on a new plant for filtering waste from its mining activities.

The company, which is a 50:50 joint venture between BHP Billiton Brasil and Vale, expects to begin production operations at the Ubu Complex in the latter half of this month. The Ubu Complex, which is located in the Espírito Santo state, is used for producing iron ore pellets.

Initially, Samarco anticipates operating at 26% of capacity, which equates to 30.5 million tonnes of iron ore pellets per year.

Samarco’s operations at the Germano Complex were suspended after the collapse of the tailings dam in the Bento Rodrigues village in November 2015, which led to a number of casualties and injuries. The company had also been subject to class action due to the tragedy.

The collapsed dam was used for storing iron ore waste coming from the operations of the Samarco mine.

In October 2019, Samarco announced that it had all the necessary environmental licenses in place to restart operations at the Germano Complex by using new technologies for dry tailings stacking.

Through the new filtration plant, Samarco expects to significantly dewater sand tailings that make up 80% of total tailings by volume and stack the filtered sand tailings in piles in a safe manner.

The company plans to deposit the remaining 20% of tailings in its Alegria South pit, which is a bedrock self-contained structure.