RIO DE JANEIRO Samarco Mineração SA has not adopted measures to stop the leaking of mine tailings as required by a court after a deadly dam burst, a prosecutor said on Friday, an allegation that could delay the miner's return to operations.
Prosecutor Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pinto said in an interview with Reuters he would submit the opinion to court by Tuesday. If a judge agrees, Samarco will have to pay a daily fine of 1 million reais ($277,000) until the leaks stop.
Environmental protection officials have said Samarco would have to stop all leakage before they would grant permission to resume operations that halted after a disaster in November that killed 19 people.
Samarco, which is jointly owned by mining companies Vale SA (VALE5.SA) and BHP Billiton Plc (BLT.L), said on Friday that a 2 million cubic metre capacity dam it built is preventing leaks.
Based on a report prosecutors commissioned from a local technological centre, the structure does not stop water from leaking into provisional dikes, picking up tailings sediment from the dam burst, and flowing into the Rio Doce river, Pinto said.
Samarco hopes to resume operations to be able to pay for a 20 billion reais damages settlement.
($1 = 3.6 reais)
(Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Caroline Stauffer)
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