The Brazil company, which has been in limbo since the disastrous Fundão dam collapse in November 2015, met with unions Metabase and Sindimetal (ES) late last week to explain cutting its 1,735-member workforce to 1,135.
In a translated statement, Metabase president Angelo Eleutério said Samarco's justification was that it had been "paralysed for two years and that there is no return forecast".
In a positive development for Samarco, the joint venture company between Vale SA (BZ:VALE5) and BHP (AU:BHP), the regulator responsible for granting licenses announced it would hold a hearing on November 24 to discuss the first permit required for the iron ore mine to reopen, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, BHP and Vale are believed to have closed a deal to distance themselves from US$53 billion in lawsuits over the tailings spill.
The parties have requested a further 150-day suspension of two civil suits, according to the wire service, to allow consultants to complete a broader assessment of damages.