November 4, 2016 / 8:22 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil environmental agency to fine Samarco daily over dam spill response

(Adds Samarco comment)

BRASILIA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal environmental agency IBAMA said on Friday it is fining Samarco Mineracao SA 500,000 reais ($154,693) per day for not complying with directives related to a 2015 tailings dam spill.

Samarco, an iron ore joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Billiton Plc, must increase the height of a dike that was built to contain the continuing runoff from the dam spill and effectively treat the mining waste, known as tailings, IBAMA said.

Samarco said it was working to increase the capacity of the dike to 2.9 million cubic meters at the mine in Minas Gerais, a state in south eastern Brazil. It did not say when this work would be completed.

Environmental bodies, including IBAMA, have expressed concern that the oncoming rainy season could cause further mining waste to run into rivers and surrounding ecosystems.

Samarco says it is working to ensure environmental impacts from the rains are kept to a minimum. ($1 = 3.2322 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by G Crosse and Lisa Shumaker)

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