Vale clarifies on the Gongo Soco mine

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Vale clarifies on the Gongo Soco mine

As soon as a movement was detected on the northern slope of a pit at the Gongo Soco mine in Barão de Cocais, Minas Gerais, paralyzed since 2016, Vale immediately informed the competent authorities and has taken a series of necessary measures to update the region's population about the situation in the pit and at the Sul Superior dam, which is approximately 1.5 km from the mine area

It should be noted that there are no technical elements so far that point towards an eventual slide of the northern slope of the Gongo Soco Mine, which could act as a trigger for a breach of the Sul Superior Dam. Even so, Vale is reinforcing the alert and readiness level for a worst-case breach scenario. The pit and the dam are monitored 24 hours a day.

What is a slope?

Slope is a generic technical term for any sloping surface that delimits a mass of soil, rock or other material (ore, slag, barren, rubbish, etc.). Slopes can be natural, when they are formed by nature without human interference, or artificial, formed by embankments or modified by works.

In the specific case of mines, slope is the hillside that give support to the pit.

Marcelo Barros explains the preventive measures taken at Barão de Cocais

Understand the situation at the Gongo Soco Mine, in Barão de Cocais

Security Level

The South Superior dam is at level 3. Vale has been maintaining contact with communities, local governments, civil defense, companies and other competent bodies in the region.

On February 8, about 400 people from the dam's Autosaving Zone (ZAS) - communities of Piteiras, Socorro, Tabuleiro and Vila do Gongo - had already been removed preventively and were lodged in temporary housing rented by Vale, hotels, region and house of family, respecting the will of each one.

The company carried out an emergency simulation with residents of the Secondary Safety Zone (ZSS) of the municipalities of Barão de Cocais (25/3), Santa Bárbara (29/3) and São Gonçalo do Rio Abaixo (3/4). Seven Help Centers have been created in Barão de Cocais and are operating 24 hours a day.

Evacuation simulation - May 18, 2019

A new evacuation simulation was held on Saturday, May 18, at 3 pm, to reinforce the training of the population of Barão de Cocais. The teams of Vale supported the execution of the simulation, which was conducted by the Civil Defense. In total, 1,625 people took part in this simulation.

Emergency containment measures

As part of its preventive engineering measures, on May 16, Vale began the earthworks for construction of a concrete containment structure located 6 km downstream of the Sul Superior dam, in Barão de Cocais, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Once completed, this structure will retain most of the volume of tailings from the Sul Superior dam in case of a breach.

Vale is also carrying out earthwork interventions, installing containment barriers with metal screens and positioning granite blocks to create a physical barrier to reduce the speed of flow of a potential flood, thus containing the displacement of material within a more restricted area. The goal is to reduce potential impacts on people and the environment in the extreme case of a breach.

Check the location of the slope at the Gongo Soco mine

Read more information about Barão de Cocais

Find out the meaning of some terms about dams