The first half of this year was marked by important advances in actions to eliminate upstream heightened dams in Minas Gerais. In June, Vale completed the works on the Fernandinho dam, in the Vargem Grande Complex, in Nova Lima, and the construction of a tailings containment structure for the Forquilhas I, II, III and Grupo dams, at the Fábrica mine. The projects are part of the company's commitment to reducing the risks of its operations in the communities where it operates.
The elimination of dam structures heightened using the upstream method is provided for in recent dam legislation, which determines the de-characterization of this type of structure. In practice, the process consists of carrying out works to functionally reintegrate the structure and its contents into the environment, so that it ceases to exercise its main purpose, which is to act as a containment of tailings.
The work on the Fernandinho dam lasted approximately one year and generated around 540 direct jobs, more than 60% of them in the Nova Lima region. During the works, Vale removed approximately 560,000 cubic meters of tailings. Eventually, the structure lost its function for tailings and water storage.
Fernandinho Dam after the decharacterization process. Photo: Videodelivery
The Fernandinho dam is the sixth upstream dam eliminated by Vale since 2019.
Minas Gerais: Fernandinho dam (Nova Lima), 8B dam (Nova Lima) and the Rio do Peixe dyke (Itabira)
Pará: dykes 2 and 3 of the Kalunga dam and Pondes de Rejeto dam
Tailings containment between Itabirito and Ouro Preto
In June, Vale concluded a containment of tailings for the Forquilhas I, II, III and Grupo dams, which are located in the Fábrica mine. The need for additional actions is still being evaluated by the company with the technical audit of the Public Ministry. The containment is between the municipalities of Ouro Preto and Itabirito and, during the works, had more than three thousand workers.
The construction is capable of retaining the tailings and reducing the impacts in a hypothetical scenario of a simultaneous collapse of the structures. The work was also designed to contain the material from the Forquilha IV dam, which is close to the others, but will not be eliminated as it is not an upstream structure. The containment is 95 meters high and 330 meters long. It protects the Secondary Security Zone (ZSS) of the dams, which includes areas in the municipalities of Itabirito, Raposos, Rio Maior, Nova Lima and Belo Horizonte.
Learn more about the containment of dams at Fábrica mine.
In addition to the recently completed containment for the Fábrica mine dams, Vale has implemented two other structures for the B3/B4 dams, at the Mar Azul mine, in Nova Lima, and Sul Superior, at the Gongo Soco mine, in Barão de Cocais.
Containment for dams at the Fábrica mine. Photo: Videodelivery
Works in progress:
- Doutor Dam (Ouro Preto): construction of spillway;
- Dam B3/B4 (Nova Lima): removal of sterile pile and tailings from the reservoir;
- Vargem Grande Dam (Nova Lima): preparatory works for decharacterization;
- Sul Superior Dam (Barão de Cocais): preparatory actions for decharacterization;
- Dike 3 of the Pontal dam (Itabira): preliminary reinforcement to the decharacterization.
Works planned to start in the 2nd semester:
- Containment for Minervino and Cordão Nova Vista dykes (Itabira);
- Gabion structure for B5 auxiliary dam (Nova Lima);
- Reinforcement of dyke 4 of the Pontal dam (Itabira);
- Decharacterization of dike 5 of the Pontal dam (Itabira);
- Decharacterization of the Baixo João Pereira dam (Congonhas);
- Decharacterization of the Sul Superior dam (Barão de Cocais);
- Campo Grande Dam: preparatory actions for decharacterization.
Elimination of upstream dams advances in Minas Gerais