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Home • About Vale • Reports • Dam updates
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.
In the Iron Ore business, Vale has 124 dams registered with the National Mining Agency (ANM). In total, 82% of these dams are located in Minas Gerais.
Source: SIGBM (Sistema Integrado de Gestão de Segurança de Barragens de Mineração da ANM)
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.
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).
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.
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.
Learn more about dry processing
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.
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