Learn more about Vale’s dams

Learn more about Vale’s dams

Learn more about Vale’s dams

Learn more about
Vale’s dams

barragem

What are dams?

Dams are structures designed by engineers and used as a reservoir for the containment and accumulation of liquid substances or mixtures of liquids and solids from ore processing.

Check out the meaning of this and other words in the Glossary
Vale’s dams

Where are Vale’s dams?

Vale has 133 iron ore dams in Brazil and 90 of them are tailings dams (operated or not). 80% of this total are located in the state of Minas Gerais.

icone brasil

133

Iron ore dams in Brazil
icone brasil

90

tailings dams
icone brasil

80%

in the state of Minas Gerais

Barragens no Brasil
Types of dams

Learn more about the types of dams

When a dam is built, it is for the purpose to contain tailings. This is the starter dam. As more tailings are deposited, new layers are added to the starter dam (this is called the upstream construction method). There are different types of construction methods. The main ones used by Vale are: the downstream (traditional) and the upstream construction methods.

Jusante/Convencional

Downstream (conventional)

The downstream shell is built on compacted soil, regardless of the type of tailings used. It is built in the direction of the water flow (downstream).

À Montante

Upstream

The dam body is constructed using the deposited tailings. It is built in the opposite direction of the water flow (upstream). The dam needs thick tailings so that the shell can be constructed.

processamento
Types of ore processing

Wet and dry ore processing

The run of mine (ROM) processing can be made through two different methods: wet and dry. The muddy sludge produced by the mine after the wet ore processing is called tailings. This residue is disposed of in dams.

Dry ore processing production grows

produção  a seco
Dry processing production
Produção a úmido
Wet processing production

2014

2014

2018

2018

What is decommissioning?

Decommissioning is the process of permanently stopping the use of a dam, i.e., the structure does not have any features of a dam anymore and is reintegrated to the terrain and the environment.

drenagem

Dragagem da barragem

drenagem

Tratamento dos resíduos

drenagem

Retirada das estruturas de diques

drenagem

Recuperação e reflorestamento da área

Ação de curto prazo

What is decommissioning?

Decommissioning is the process of permanently stopping the use of a dam, i.e., the structure does not have any features of a dam anymore and is reintegrated to the terrain and the environment.

More safety

Dams’ Safety Routine

Monitoring

monitoramento
  • Biweekly inspections are reported and analyzed to check if dams are in compliance with Brazil’s National Dam Safety Policy.
  • Data resulting from the monitoring is analyzed by geotechnical engineers, who constantly evaluate if the levels read on the instruments match the regular operational conditions of the structures.
  • Software monitoring changes to the dams.
  • Automated geotechnical equipment provides real-time information, which are made available in a monitoring and control center.
  • Visual inspections in which the technician verifies on site if there are any cracks or any signs that the dam is not working as it should.
  • Our dams are periodically audited by external specialists.

Prevention

prevenão
  • Dam stability reports issued by independent and internationally renowned companies.
  • Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams (PAEBM): the document has orientations about prevention and necessary actions in emergencies. It is elaborated by Vale and registered in public institutions.
  • Partnership with the Civil Defense, so that those who live close to the dams know how to react in emergency situations; registration and activation meetings.
  • Simulations performed with the communities.
  • Communication channel open to the community to answer questions about the PAEBM to map the number of residents, those who have any mobility or communication issues, and those with disabilities.