Eighteen Vale mining tailings dams in Minas Gerais will have to undergo some type of intervention as a preventive measure, due to the impacts caused by the intense rains in December and January, the Minas Gerais Public Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (19).
The specific and preventive actions needed in the 18 dams were raised after analysis of 31 structures by the MPMG (Public Ministry of Minas Gerais) and the state government, through Feam (State Environmental Foundation), explained the agency.
The analyzes were based on documents sent by mining companies at the request of the agencies. ArcelorMittal and Minérios Nacional dams were also evaluated, whose structures did not show damage or anomalies caused by the rains and had the expected behavior for the rainy season, according to the agency.
Feam and MP from Minas will notify Vale this Wednesday, via official letter, so that mitigation measures can be taken in each of the structures. The mining company will have ten days to respond about the measures taken or the respective schedule of necessary actions.
“The severe rains affected several structures that will require continuous and rigorous monitoring by the command and control bodies”, said prosecutor Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pinto, coordinator of Caoma (Center for Operational Support for the Environment).
“Based on the information received, companies will be required to take all possible and necessary technical measures to ensure the safety of the structures.”
Vale said it will assess the content of the document as soon as it is notified.
Among the structures that should undergo interventions, three are at emergency level III (Sul Superior, B3/B4 and Forquilha III dams), according to the MP.
However, according to the joint analysis by Feam and the MP de Minas, despite the emergency level of these structures, “they did not present direct damage, only difficulties were faced by the company in accessing the structures. For these dams, the notifications request measures to the treatment of erosive processes in the surroundings and to guarantee the maintenance of the structures”.
In its position, Vale stressed that the structures at emergency level 3 —B3/B4 (Nova Lima), Forquilha III (Ouro Preto) and Sul Superior (Barão de Cocais)— are normally accessed only by remote equipment and do not have structural change.
“The three dams have already had their respective containments completed and the ZAS (Self-Salvation Zones) communities have been vacated since 2019,” added the mining company.
Vale also said that its technical teams are currently carrying out an in-depth assessment to carry out the necessary improvements in the structures, especially in their accesses, affected by the intense rains in Minas Gerais in recent days.
To ensure the safety of its dams, the company stated that it monitors its main structures 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in real time, through the CMG (Geotechnical Monitoring Center).
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