Vale is testing short-term alternatives for disposing tailings from its Brucutu mine, which could boost its production capacity from 40p to 80pc.
However, if it isn’t completed by the end of Q2 2020, the company’s iron ore production volume in 2020— forecasted at 345-360mn mt—will be affected, the Brazilian miner said in statement.
The Brucutu plant has an annual capacity of 30mn mt and is used to dispose tailings in the Norte/Laranjeiras dam—which reached level one emergency on Dec 2, 2019, meaning it requires daily inspections. Consequently, it is only operating at 40pc of its capacity through wet processing and tailings filtration, as well as an operational team that optimizes use of the Sul dam.
Operations at Brucutu have been suspended several times. In December, Vale temporarily suspended tailings disposal at the Laranjeiras dam that had originated at the Brucutu mine.
The company said that nine of its dams have stability issues, including 18 with a level one emergency rate. It has nine others at levels two and three, meaning they require inspections or are in imminent danger of rupturing.