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Closure methodology applied to the Corrego do Meio iron ore mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Paper from the Proceedings of Mine Closure Solutions 2014 conference held in Ouro Preto, Brazil, April 26-30, 2014. (downloadable PDF).

Authors: Gersonito Vieira, Alessandro Resende, Flávio Luiz Costa, and Simone Picarelli, Vale S.A., Brazil; Makoto Namba, Bureau de Projetos e Consultoria Ltda., Brazil

Published by InfoMine Inc. 2014.
ISBN: 978-0-9917905-4-8


Córrego do Meio is an old iron ore mine located in the municipality of Sabara, about 30 km from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. It has been operated as an open pit mine, with the use of large equipment. Vale took over the mine in March 2000, when it acquired Samitri’s controlling stake. The mine operated until July 2005, when mining activities were discontinued. Since then the facilities of the mine have been gradually decommissioned, along with demobilization of the mobile mining equipment, beneficiation and ancillary structures and transfer to other Vale operations in the region. Currently, an application for temporary suspension of mining activities has been filed with the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM) for a 10-year period. With respect to the monitoring and maintenance of geotechnical structures (drainage systems, cleaning of ditches, piezometer readings, maintenance of access ways, etc.), these activities have been developed by the Management of Projects and Mine Closure, which is the department responsible in the ferrous metals division for mine closure.

In 2007, taking advantage of environmental aspects, existing infrastructure and the prime location of the mine, Vale created the Center for Research and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Quadrilátero Ferrífero (CeBio). CeBio’s primary mission is to generate, integrate and share knowledge in the management and restoration of areas, with particular focus on areas impacted by mining activities, contributing to biodiversity preservation and sustainable use of natural resources. In general, the actions contemplated by CeBio follow three main lines of action: preservation of the Quadrilátero Ferrífero flora and fauna, tree nursery and actions related to rupestrian field research. The Córrego do Meio mine main assets are: pit, waste rock piles, sediment retention dikes, tailings dam, industrial and civil facilities and support infrastructure. The closure plan has identified potential future uses, primarily, the expansion of the CeBio role as a reference center for environmental rehabilitation and decommissioning of geotechnical structures, industrial and civil facilities, and as a research laboratory for mine closure issues. As it is intensely focused on sustainability, the closure plan has been selected as a reference by Vale’s Global Strategy, and its implementation is regarded as a major initiative for propagation of good practice among the mines of the Quadrilátero Ferrífero. The plan, according to the methodology used, contains well-delineated guidelines and serves as a basis in the preparation of projects involving decommissioning of geotechnical structures and industrial and infrastructure facilities, which are activities undergoing development.

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