This week Vale reported that it has completed the “decharacterization” work associated with the Fernandinho dam, located at Abóboras mine, which is part of Vargem Grande Complex, in Nova Lima, Brazil. The company has also completed the construction of the downstream containment structure that serves four Forquilhas Group dams, located between Itabirito and Ouro Preto, near the Fábrica mine, which is also in Minas Gerais.
With much of the iron ore tailings reclaimed, Fernandinho no longer has the characteristics of a dam, losing its function of tailings and water storage. More than 558,000 cubic meters of tailings were removed and a central drainage channel was established, revegetated and reintegrated into the local environment.
The Fernandinho dam was part of Vale’s Dam Decharacterization Program, aimed at structures with upstream heightening, a method similar to that used in the collapsed Brumadinho dam. Since 2019, six upstream structures have been completely decharacterized and reintegrated into the environment.