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Control and Management of Dams


Integrated and updated vision

Vale maintains its dam management in line with the best and most rigorous international practices, integrated with the movements of society and updated with the advances in legislation.

For this reason, we have intensified the monitoring of our structures and the assessments of their conservation status, in order to anticipate the problems through preventive and corrective measures.

An example of these ongoing efforts is the creation, since 2019, of three Geotechnical Monitoring Centers (CMG), which monitor the dams 24/7 to ensure useful information for better decision making.

The use of new technologies is also noteworthy. Vale acts actively to increase ore recovery in the beneficiation process, reduce tailings, implement new disposal solutions and improve operational controls and dam safety management.

Emergency Management

Pillars

In the Ferrous business, Vale's integrated risk management system for geotechnical structures is based on three main pillars:

People
Teams specialized in dam control and management are dedicated to Vale's structures.

Processes
Reassessment of safety, risk and emergency management procedures throughout the structure cycle, from project implementation to operation. In all phases, a risk prognosis is made, and a state of alert is established in case of an emergency. The safety policy for dams and geotechnical mining structures, established in October 2020, and Vale's normative standard for business risk management, revised in December 2020, guide this work.

Information Systems
There are two systems in the Ferrous area:

- Geotc: stores structural maintenance and monitoring data;

-GRG: stores technical data of the structures and the Dam Safety Plan (PSB).



New technologies for dam monitoring:

Centro de Monitoramento Geotecnico (CMG)

Dams emergency levels:

Emergency situations are considered those arising from adverse events that affect the dam safety and may cause damage to its structural and operational integrity, preservation of life, health, property and environment. The emergency should be assessed and classified according to the levels below:

Level of Emergency Detailment Comunication to
Vale’s structures
1 Level 1 When an anomaly is detected that results in the maximum score for the state of conservation or for any other situation with a potential compromise in the safety of the structure, requiring special daily inspections.
the Brazilian National Mining Agency (ANM), environmental agencies and Civil Defense (national, state and municipal).
Immediate actions: signaling instability and intensifying monitoring.
Dams: 5, 6, 7A, Área IX, Campo Grande, Dicão Leste, Dique B, Dique Borrachudo II, Dique de Pedra, Dique Paracatu, Doutor, Forquilha IV, Maravilhas II, Marés I, Marés II, PDE 3, Peneirinha, Santana, Sistema 5 (MAC), Sistema Pontal, Vargem Grande, Sul Inferior
2 Level 2 When the result of the actions taken in the anomaly referred to in Level 1 is classified as “uncontrolled” or “not extinguished”, requiring new special inspections and interventions. the ANM, environmental agencies, Civil Defense (national, state and municipal), Self-Rescue Zone (ZAS) and Secondary Safety Zone (ZSS
Immediate actions: from that level, people in the ZAS are evacuated.
Dams: Capitão do Mato, Forquilha I, Forquilha II, Grupo, Xingu, Norte/Laranjeiras
3 Level 3 Situation of imminent or ongoing rupture.
the ANM, environmental agencies, Civil Defense (national, state and municipal), ZAS and ZSS.
Immediate actions: Care is extended to people who are in the ZSS through additional educational measures.
Dams: B3/B4, Forquilha III e Sul Superior
Level of emergency
1

Level 1

Detailment:
When an anomaly is detected that results in the maximum score for the state of conservation or for any other situation with a potential compromise in the safety of the structure, requiring special daily inspections.

Comunication to:
the Brazilian National Mining Agency (ANM), environmental agencies and Civil Defense (national, state and municipal).

Vale’s structures
Immediate actions: signaling instability and intensifying monitoring. Dams: 5, 6, 7A, Área IX, Campo Grande, Dicão Leste, Dique B, Dique Borrachudo II, Dique de Pedra, Dique Paracatu, Doutor, Forquilha IV, Maravilhas II, Marés I, Marés II, PDE 3, Peneirinha, Santana, Sistema 5 (MAC), Sistema Pontal, Vargem Grande, Sul Inferior

2

Level 2

Detailment:
When the result of the actions taken in the anomaly referred to in Level 1 is classified as “uncontrolled” or “not extinguished”, requiring new special inspections and interventions.

Comunication to:
the ANM, environmental agencies, Civil Defense (national, state and municipal), Self-Rescue Zone (ZAS) and Secondary Safety Zone (ZSS).

Vale’s structures
Immediate actions: From that level, people in the ZAS are evacuated.Dams: Capitão do Mato, Forquilha I, Forquilha II, Grupo, Xingu, Norte/Laranjeiras

3

Level 3

Detailment:
Situation of imminent or ongoing rupture.

Comunication:
The ANM, environmental agencies, Civil Defense (national, state and municipal), ZAS and ZSS.

Vale’s structures
Immediate actions: care is extended to people who are in the ZSS through additional educational measures. Dams: B3/B4, Forquilha III e Sul Superior


1 Updated on 09/03/2021



Emergency Level updated on 09/03/2021
Quantity Structure
Increase in Emergency Level
2
PDE 3 and Dique de Pedra had the triggering of the emergency protocol at level 1.
Unchanged Emergency Level 29
Foquilha I, with positive DCE, is maintained at level 1, pending review of protocol removal.
Decrease in Emergency Level -
-

1 Dique de Pedra was reclassified as a dam, with recording in the ANM and FEAM-MG systems.

2 Dique 2 had a negative DCE issued and was included in the PNSB, with inclusion in the ANM system.



Emergency Level updated on 09/03/20211

Increase in Emergency Level

  • Quantity: 2
  • Structure: PDE 3 and Dique de Pedra had the triggering of the emergency protocol at level 1.

Unchanged Emergency Level

  • Quantity: 29
  • Structure:Foquilha I, with positive DCE, is maintained at level 1, pending review of protocol removal.

Decrease in Emergency Level

  • Quantity:-
  • Structure: -

1 Dique de Pedra was reclassified as a dam, with recording in the ANM and FEAM-MG systems.

2 Dique 2 had a negative DCE issued and was included in the PNSB, with inclusion in the ANM system.

List of structures at emergency level

Structures with upstream raising method

Iron Ore

Structure Operational Status Municipality Purpose DCE Emergency Level Emergency level date
B3/B4 Inactive Nova Lima Tailings Negative 3 03/27/2019
Campo Grande Inactive Mariana Tailings Negative 1 04/01/2019
Doutor Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 1 05/18/2021
Forquilha I Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 2 10/08/2020
Forquilha II Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 2 02/20/2019
Forquilha III Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 3 03/27/2019
Grupo Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 2 02/20/2019
Sul Superior Inactive Barão de Cocais Tailings Negative 3 03/22/2019
Vargem Grande Inactive Nova Lima Tailings Negative 1 06/04/2019
Xingu Inactive Mariana Tailings Negative 2 09/29/2020
5 - MAC Inactive Nova Lima Tailings Negative 1 06/19/2019
Pontal Inactive Itabira Tailings Negative 1 03/31/2019

Structures with downstream raising method

Iron Ore

Structure Operational Status Municipality Purpose DCE Emergency Level Emergency level date
5 - Mutuca Operating Nova Lima Tailings Negative 1 07/29/2020
Maravilhas II Inactive Itabirito Tailings Negative 1 04/01/2019
Peneirinha Inactive Nova Lima Tailings Negative 1 04/01/2020
Santana Operating Itabira Sediments Negative 1 03/31/2019

Structures with sigle step, center line or unknown raising method

Iron Ore

Structure Operational Status Municipality Purpose DCE Emergency Level Emergency level date
6 Inactive Nova Lima Sediments Negative 1 06/09/2020
7A Inactive Nova Lima Sediments Negative 1 06/09/2020
Área IX Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 1 06/09/2020
B Inactive Nova Lima Sediments Negative 1 04/01/2019
Borrachudo II Operating Itabira Sediments Negative 1 04/22/2020
Capitão do Mato Inactive Nova Lima Sediments Negative 2 02/11/2020
Dicão Leste Operating Mariana Sediments Negative 1 04/24/2020
Dique de Pedra Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 1 09/01/2021
Forquilha IV Inactive Ouro Preto Tailings Negative 1 10/31/2019
Marés I Inactive Belo Vale Sediments Negative 1 04/01/2019
Marés II Inactive Belo Vale Sediments Negative 1 04/01/2019
Norte/Laranjeiras Inactive Barão de Cocais Tailings Negative 2
11/18/2020
Paracatu Operating Catas Altas Sediments Negative 1 09/01/2020
PDE 3 Operating São Gonçalo do Rio de Baixo Sediments Negative 1 09/01/2021
Sul Inferior Inactive Barão de Cocais Sediments Negative 1
06/18/2021

Structures with upstream raising method

B3/B4

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 3
  • Emergency level date: 03/27/2019

Campo Grande

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Mariana
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2019

Doutor

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 05/18/2021

Forquilha I

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 10/08/2020

Forquilha II

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 02/20/2019

Forquilha III

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 02/20/2019

Sul Superior

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Barão de Cocais
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 3
  • Emergency level date: 03/22/2019

Vargem Grande

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 06/04/2019

Xingu

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Mariana
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 09/29/2020

5 - MAC

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 06/19/2019

Pontal

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Itabira
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 03/31/2019

Structures with downstream raising method

5 - Mutuca

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 07/29/2020

Maravilhas II

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Itabirito
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2019

Peneirinha

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2020

Santana

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: Itabira
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 03/31/2019

Structures with sigle step, center line or unknown raising method

6

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 6/09/2020

7A

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 06/09/2020

Área IX

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 06/09/2020

B

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2019

Borrachudo II

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: Itabira
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/22/2020

Capitão do Mato

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Nova Lima
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 02/11/2020

Dicão Leste

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: Mariana
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/24/2020

Dique de Pedra

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 09/01/2021

Forquilha IV

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Ouro Preto
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 10/31/2019

Marés I

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Belo Vale
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2019

Marés II

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Belo Vale
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 04/01/2019

Norte/Laranjeiras

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Barão de Cocais
  • Purpose: Tailings
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 2
  • Emergency level date: 11/18/2020

Paracatu

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: Catas Altas
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 09/01/2020

PDE 3

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Operating
  • Municipality: São Gonçalo do Rio de Baixo
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 09/01/2021

Sul Inferior

  • Business unit: Iron Ore
  • Operational Status: Inactive
  • Municipality: Barão de Cocais
  • Purpose: Sediments
  • DCE: Negative
  • Emergency Level: 1
  • Emergency level date: 06/18/2021


Additional document:



Measures for structures at emergency level

The 22 structures with active emergency protocols at level 1 have intensified actions for instability monitoring and signaling, in addition to carrying out studies, actions and complementary works to improve safety, as appropriate.

The 9 structures with active emergency protocols at levels 2 and 3 already had their respective Self-Rescue evacuated on a preventive basis, with the removal and relocation of families residing downstream from the structures. In these cases, Vale adopts measures to strengthen stability and safety conditions, such as maintaining reservoirs dried, reducing water disposal and implementing by-pass channels.

Vale is also building containment structures (back-up dams) downstream of dams in critical conditions, with the objective of retaining the volume in an extreme hypothetical scenario of rupture, preventing tailings from reaching the Secondary Safety Zone of the municipalities. In 2020, two containment structures were completed (related to the Sul Superior dams, in Barão de Cocais, and B3 / B4 in Nova Lima, both in Minas Gerais). In 2021 Vale finalized the back-up dams for the Forquilhas I, II, III, IV and Group dams. Vale also expects to build another 3 back-up dams by 2023.

Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams (PAEBM)

Part of the Dam Safety Plan (PSB), PAEBM is a technical document filed with city halls and Civil Defenses (municipal, state and federal) and which defines immediate actions in case of emergency.

Objectives:

  • Avoid or minimize loss of lives, social, economic and environmental impacts;
  • Identify and classify situations and/or events that may jeopardize the integrity of the dam's structure;
  • Establish emergency actions;
  • Inform the flow of communication with the various agents involved

PAEBMs for Vale’s structures are submitted to the City Halls, Civil Defenses and the Minas Gerais State environmental bodies, and are available here (in Portuguese, only).

Content of PAEBM

Community engagement:

So that residents near the dams know how to react in emergency situations.

  • Conducting simulations with communities;
  • Partnership with the Civil Defense;
  • Siren and alert systems
  • Open channel with the community for questions and clarifications about the PAEBM

Related parties:

Entrepreneur

Private or governmental agent who operates the dam for own or collective benefit;

Technician responsable

In charge of the project's professional duties: dam construction, operation, maintenance or monitoring;

Coordinator

Agent appointed by the entrepreneur to coordinate the PAEBM, committed to being available to act promptly in the emergency situations of the dam;

Security Team

Group formed by professionals from the entrepreneur's own staff or by professionals contracted specifically for this purpose.

External agents

Public authorities responsible for supervising and managing dam safety. They act in case of emergency.

Geotechnical Monitoring Center

.Team of the entrepreneur which continuously monitors the dam and performs the actions previously established for emergency situations

Definition of areas close to dams:

Used to classify the surrounding populations in case of emergencies.

Self-Rescue Zone (ZAS)

Region where there is not enough time for the competent authorities to intervene in emergency situations. For its delimitation, a distance that corresponds to a time of arrival of the flood wave equal to thirty minutes or 10 km must be adopted.

Secondary Safety Zone (ZSS)

Region contained in the Flood Map and which cannot be defined as ZAS.

Expected Actions Flow - PAEBM:

Brumadinho (MG)

In the episode at the Córrego do Feijão mine dam, in Brumadinho (MG), shortly after the event were created:

  • Immediate Response Group
    Vale appointed one of its executives to lead the group and consolidate all emergency actions, of any nature, related to those affected by the dam breach.

    On the occasion, the executive moved permanently to Belo Horizonte, in order to intensify the agility and efficiency of the actions.


  • Humanitarian Aid Committee
    With a team of social workers and psychologists, the committee provided assistance to those affected - which included accommodation, food, water and medicines for those affected and their families.

Initiatives in dam management

Since the dam rupture in Brumadinho, the assessments carried out by Vale have been intensified in order to support the implementation of preventive and corrective actions in all structures.


The Safety and Operational Excellence Office report to the CEO provides:
Business areas and functional units include:
  • Executive Officer leading the department and defining technical parameters;
  • Support for the use of risk models and standard asset management by the operational area;
  • Focus on rules and procedures
  • Independent and transparent audit
  • Area dedicated to geotechnics, focusing on the adoption of best practices
  • Role of the person responsible for management and safety in operations;
  • Compliance with operational excellence guidelines
  • Reports of complaints and asset risk management;
  • Guarantee regarding the technical expertise of the operational teams;
  • Mandatory application of Vale's Management Model (Vale Production System - VPS).

Safety, health and operational excellence Area reporting to the CEO

  • Department led by an Executive Director who defines technical parameters
  • Support the use of standard risk and asset management models by the operational area
  • Focus on standards and procedures
  • Independent and transparent audit
  • Office dedicated to Geotechnics, focusing on the adoption of best practices

Business areas and functional units

  • Responsible for the management and safety in operations
  • Comply with operational excellence guidelines
  • Asset risk management reports
  • Ensure technical expertise within the operational teams
  • Mandatory VPS (Vale Production System)

Routine, Performance and Risk Management System (RPR)

Vale's RPR is intended to cover all aspects relevant to the safety of a dam or tailings deposit.

In this system, the following management processes are monitored:

  • routine applied to the structure, through operational discipline;
  • performance of the geotechnical asset, made possible by continuous and formal monitoring by the Engineer of Record;
  • risks, through the identification of failure modes and their critical controls, insertion and monitoring via the business risk management platform.

Risk management of tailings dams

The governance and the updating of dam defense lines increase the flow of data within the company, allowing information related to risks and safety to be constantly reviewed and reach senior management

The risk management of Vale's tailings dams is fully aligned with the company's Management Model (VPS), divided into three levels:

Disposição e Destinação

Technincal

  • Basic geotechnical guidelines;
  • Operational discipline;
  • Standards for minimum activities and routines;
  • Elaboration of 25 normative standards;
  • Elaboration of a policy for dam safety;
  • Integration of geotechnical risks with the BRM;
  • Project governance;
  • Minimum requirements.

 

Method

  • Implementation of a model based on the Routine, Performance and Risk Management System (RPR);
  • Introduction of the Engineer of Record (EoR) and continuous monitoring of the structures;
  • Application of HIRA’ for dams;
  • Maintenance Control Planning (PCM);
  • Implementation of the Floor Management Development System (FMDS);
  • Strategy unfolding
  • Governance.

Leadership

  • Review of the organizational structure;
  • Defined roles and responsibilities;
  • Elaboration of RACI matrix (tool to visualize responsibilities) and review aspects of human resources;
  • Behavioral transformation and enpowerment

 


The system follows the Three Lines of Defense:

In addition to the 3 conventional lines, Vale's new Risk Management system was designed with the incorporation of additional and redundant layers. The objective is to increase the number of lines and layers of defense to 8. The figure below illustrates all the layers that make up the system:

Infographic - 3 lines of defense
Infographic - 3 lines of defense

Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management

Vale is focused on the evolution of its Tailings & Dams Management System ("TDMS") for the Ferrous, Coal and Base Metals businesses. During 2019 and 2020, Vale worked closely with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and participated actively in the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management ("GISTM") – an effort whose purpose is to improve safety through all phases of the tailings storage facilities life-cycle.


As of 5 August 2020, Vale and all ICMM members are committed to implement the GISTM. All tailings facilities operated by Vale with “Extreme” or “Very high” potential consequences will be in conformance with the GISTM by 5 August 2023. All other tailings facilities operated by Vale not in a state of safe closure will be in conformance with the GISTM by 5 August 2025.


Vale’s Board of Directors approved, in October 2020, a new Policy for Dam Safety and Geotechnical Mining Structure, which counts with the GISTM as one of its references. Among other guidelines, the policy enforces that all components of Vale’s TDMS are designed with continuous improvement elements, using and applying the best available technology and best practices according to international institutions, including the ICMM.


The company has been working on the evolution of its TDMS prior to the GISTM launching, and the similarities between Vale’s TDMS and the GISTM have shown to be very high, based on a preliminary consideration. Hence, Vale consider it is well positioned to be adherent to the GISTM by the end of 2021.


Vale concluded its first internal assessment based on the GISTM requirements and an in-depth assessment will follow, based on the detailed conformance requirements yet to be provided by the Global Tailings Review Initiative in early 2021. After this evaluation, our senior management will perform a critical analysis and set an action plan to address eventual gaps and improvements to our practices, in order to have all the GISTM principles and recommendations implemented. The timetable for the in-depth assessment will be disclosed in due course.


Learn about Vale's ongoing initiatives to support the GISTM implementation:


Vale reiterates its commitment to safety, transparency and the adoption of the known best practices for managing its tailings facilities.

Goals and Timeframes


Goals


Initiatives to reduce the use of dams

Vale plans to significantly reduce the use of dams and will invest in alternatives which allow wet processing operations to be replaced by safer and more sustainable processes. Know the company's goals for this initiative:

  • 70% of iron ore production with dry processing by 2024;
  • US$ 2.3 billion in investments between 2020 and 2025 to increase the use of filtration and dry stacking to 16% of total production
  • Increased development of new technologies, such as dry iron ore magnetic separation, from New Steel (company acquired in 2018).


Viable Solutions

Dry processing



Compared to wet processing, the technique reduces total water consumption by 93% (on average) and increases productivity due to greater resource savings, less energy consumption, fewer production phases, less equipment and simpler and safer operation.

  • In the past decade, Vale has invested around US$ 17.8 billion to expand dry processing in iron ore operations;
  • In Pará, about 80% of production is already dry-processing based;
  • The main plant in Carajás (Pará) is in process of converting to natural moisture. Out of the plant's 17 processing lines, 11 are already dry. The remaining 6 wet processing lines will be converted by 2023;
  • Processing plants in Curionópolis and Canaã dos Carajás (both in Pará) also do not use water to treat the ore;
  • In Minas Gerais, dry processing was expanded from 20% (2016) to 32% (2019). Today, this type of processing is present in several units, such as Brucutu, Alegria, Fábrica Nova, Fazendão, Abóboras, Mutuca and Pico.

Dry stacking



The technique will reduce Vale's dependence on tailings dams in the medium and long term. It consists of filtering and stacking partially or totally dry tailings.

  • Investment of around US $ 1.8 billion, between 2020 and 2024, in some sites, including Cauê and Conceição (in Itabira) and Brucutu (in São Gonçalo do Rio Abaixo) - all in Minas Gerais.​


Magnetic concentration



Eliminates the use of water in the concentration process, allowing the waste to be disposed of in piles as “sterile”, similar to the dry stacking process.

  • Target of investing in the construction, in Minas Gerais, of an industrial plant for magnetic concentration with a production capacity of 1.5 million tons per year;
  • The Brazilian technology is known as Fines Dry Magnetic Separation - FDMS, exclusive and developed by New Steel;
  • Project start-up by 2022.

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