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Vale completes works of Fernandinho dam’s decharacterization and Fábrica’s containment structure

Vale informs that it has completed the decharacterization works of the Fernandinho dam, located at Abóboras Mine, Vargem Grande Complex, in Nova Lima (MG). The company also informs that it has completed the construction of the downstream containment structure that serves the Forquilhas I, II, III, IV and Grupo dams and is located between the municipalities of Itabirito and Ouro Preto (MG), near the Fábrica Mine. The completion of both projects reflects Vale's progress in its commitment to best practices in the management of its dams.

Decharacterization of the Fernandinho dam
With the completion of the decharacterization works, which will still be evaluated by the competent bodies, Fernandinho no longer has the characteristics of a dam, losing its function of tailings and water storage. In the decharacterization process, 558 thousand cubic meters of tailings were removed and a central drainage channel was built, with subsequent revegetation and reintegration of the area into the local environment. The activities had around 540 workers, mostly residing in the Nova Lima region. The work was executed with the strict adoption of Covid-19 prevention protocols. 

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 dam in Brumadinho. The decharacterization of upstream dams is a commitment made by Vale and a legal obligation to increase the safety of communities and operations. Since 2019, six upstream structures have been completely decharacterized and reintegrated into the environment. 

Completion of Fábrica’s ECJ
The containment structure downstream of Fábrica Mine, with works completed, has the capacity to retain the tailings of the Forquilhas I, II, III, IV and Grupo dams, located upstream of the Fábrica Mine, in a hypothetical scenario of simultaneous rupture. At 95 meters high and 330 meters long, the structure increases the safety of people living in nearby communities and protects the Secondary Safety Zones of the aforementioned dams, which include part of the municipalities of Itabirito, Raposos, Rio Acima and Nova Lima, in addition to three neighborhoods in Belo Horizonte. 

The conclusion of the ECJ allows preparations for the decharacterization of the Forquilhas I, II, III and Grupo dams. Forquilha IV dam is at emergency level 1, Forquilhas I, II and Grupo are at level 2, and Forquilhas III is at level 3 of the Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams. All structures have continuous instrumental monitoring, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, managed by Vale's Geotechnical Monitoring Center. Fábrica’s ECJ was built under the strictest national standards, the best engineering practices and technical references from international entities. Vale continues to assess, together with the technical auditor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the need for additional actions. 

The completion of the two works represents the advance of Vale’s Decharacterization Program and commitment to a more transparent and safer approach in the management of the company’s dams. The timeline of the Decharacterization Program and other information on Vale's dam management are available at 


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