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ArcelorMittal: update regarding Serra Azul mine


ArcelorMittal Brazil operates the Serra Azul mine located in Itatiaiuçu, Minas Gerais State, in Brazil. It produces 1.2 million tonnes of concentrate and lump ore. The Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF), which is an upstream dam, has been idled since October 2012. Serra Azul has been operating with no wet tailings since 2012, replaced with dry stack and in pit methodologies.

In February 2019, Serra Azul implemented a precautionary evacuation of local community based on new factors of safety analysis following the recent incidents in the Brazilian mining sector. Since the evacuation, on February 8, additional monitoring has been expanded to now include; 24-hour video-monitoring, radar monitoring, seismic monitoring, drone inspections and automation of dam level reading devices.

Serra Azul has been working with authorities and independent experts to update models for the Serra Azul dormant TSF. Following update of the theoretical Dam Break analysis, and adopting the most conservative assumptions, the potential area of impact has been expanded, keeping a greater margin of safety. In response ArcelorMittal has, as a precautionary measure, decided to relocate approximately 23 families from two communities. It is important to note that there has not been any alteration in the emergency level of the dam, which remains in level 2.

The company is in close coordination with the local authorities. The main priority is to ensure that the residents are safe. The residents have been moved into temporary accommodation.

The company is performing new complementary actions and studies to evaluate options to return to the plan to de-construct the TSF in a safe manner. After the conclusion of the improvements for resuming the security factor of the dam, which are ongoing, the company will perform the decommissioning of the structure.

ArcelorMittal apologizes for the further disruption this latest decision will cause for the community and the families affected. However, the company concluded that safety must always come first.

Sebastião Costa, CEO Mining Brazil, said, “We had acted swiftly in February to ensure that there was no risk to the community surrounding the Serra Azul dam. We will be doing everything in our power to support the families impacted by this latest decision, considering that is our priority to operate in safety first manner at all times.”

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