Vale presents Plan to Contain Tailings at the Paraopeba River

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Vale presents Plan to Contain Tailings at the Paraopeba River

Today, January 30, Vale submitted to the Prosecution Office and environmental agencies a plan to contain the tailings leaked from the Dam I of the Córrego do Feijão mine, on January 25. Several containment and recovery measures will be implemented in the affected area, which was divided in three sections.

Section 1 is10km long and covers the surroundings of the dam. The company will build dikes on this site to retain thick and heavy sludge, enabling recovery of the area. Section 2 comprises a 30km area in the Paraopeba river, between Brumadinho and the city of Juatuba. This region concentrates the thin material (silt and clay), which will be dredged and contained for proper disposal.

Watch the testimonial from Rodrigo Dutra Amaral, Vale's Environmental Licensing manager.

Section 3 is the largest area, extending 170 kilometers between Juatuba and the Retiro Baixo plant. Since this stretch can potentially accommodate ultrathin sediments, Vale's technicians defined different actions to be taken according to the characteristics of the watercourse and the material in the river.

Retention barriers will be installed along that stretch of the Paraopeba river. The technique consists of installing curtains in the riverbed to retain sediments. It is possible to use flocculant, a chemical formulation that clears the river water by causing tiny particles to clump together. However, this action requires approval of the environmental agencies. Vale will install three retention barriers to protect the water system of the city of Pará de Minas, in the Paraopeba river. The city's water system is located 115 kilometers from Dam 1, where the breach occurred.


Vale installed 45 monitoring points along the Paraopeba river until the São Francisco river mouth. The measure includes daily collection of water and sediments for chemical analysis. Turbidity analyses are carried out every hour in other four points. The tailings that leaked from Dam 1 are concentrated in the Feijão e Carvão stream as well as in the confluence of the steam and the Paraopeba river.

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Vale presents Plan to Contain Tailings at the Paraopeba River