Understanding the importance of the Alegria Sul Pit
Samarco is proposing a new tailings disposal system using the Alegria Sul pit, which is in the process of obtaining an environmental license from the State Environmental Agency (SEMAD). This is one of the steps of the Company’s operational planning.
The Alegria Sul pit is a temporary alternative which will allow the disposal of tailings upon a future resumption of operations at 60% of production capacity. The area had been used for the extraction of iron ore. The Pit does not have any physical connection with the dams of the Germano Complex – one of these dams being the Fundão dam which failed last year.
In addition to using an already existing soil cavity, the structure will also receive a compacted earth dike, the same construction method used for water reservoirs for hydropower dams. This would allow it to store 17 million cubic meters of tailings, providing a horizon of about two years of operation for Samarco.
The disposal of tailings in the Alegria Sul Pit has the approval of the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM), a federal entity subordinated to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The Company is already studying alternatives for tailings disposal after the Alegria Sul pit is full. The options being analyzed include structures which are already available and have been subjected to prior environmental impact in the region of the Germano complex, as well as new tailings treatment technologies.
In order for Samarco to be able to use the Alegria Sul pit as a tailings disposal site, it must receive authorization from the State Environmental Agency (SEMAD). This agency will hold public hearings on December 14-15 in Ouro Preto and Mariana, respectively, for Samarco to present its project to society and open the subject to discussion. Here is the schedule:
Date: 14/Dec/16 (Wednesday)
Place: Centro de Artes e Convenções de Ouro Preto: R. Diogo de Vasconcelos, 328, Pilar – Ouro Preto.
Place: Arena Mariana: R. do Contorno, 454, Centro – Mariana. In front of Policlínica Municipal.