The Samarco Mineração SA Board of Directors have accepted requests made by CEO Ricardo Vescovi and Operations Director, Kleber Terra, for a temporary withdrawal from their current positions.

Samarco is a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Vale and today is globally recognised for the disastrous tailings dam which burst its banks at the iron ore mine in Brazil in November last year.

The two executives believe it is important to be temporarily relieved of their corporate functions in order to devote time to working on their defense.

It is said that they could face police charges in relation to the dam disaster that killed 17 people and polluted more than 800 km of waterways ultimately connected to the Atlantic ocean.

On an interim basis, the CEO’s position will be held by the current commercial director, Roberto Carvalho. Roberto has a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgy from the Federal University of São Paulo, and a Master’s in Mineral Technology from the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

He joined Samarco in September 1985 as a process engineer, and was in charge of strategic functions of the pelletizing operations in Ubu, Espírito Santo. In August 2000, he led the development of the Commercial Department, and became Commercial Director in 2001.

As for the function of Operations Director, it will be exercised for the time being by the Director of Projects and Ecoefficiency, Maury de Souza Junior, who will accumulate these two functions. All of the commitments already made and all of the actions in progress will be strictly maintained.

Settlement deal close

The Brazilian government and Samarco have apparently moved closer to settling the US$4.8 billion lawsuit for damages. The resolution is expected in February.

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