Fundação Renova


Published in: 10/11/2021

Tailings Management

A method called ecological restoration, which was implemented in the Gualaxo do Norte River, presents satisfactory results and is one of the actions to repair the Rio Doce Basin

The consolidated results of the ecological restoration pilot project, a solution adopted by the Renova Foundation for the environmental repair of the Doce river basin, has shown efficiency in restoring the river’s natural conditions. In a sustainable manner and with low intervention impact, the project secured second place in the BRICS Solutions for SDGs Awards 2021, which recognizes impact work carried out in the countries of the bloc, which comprises South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia, and which help, through innovative projects and technology-based solutions, to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the results of ReNaturalize, which competed for the Clean Water and Sanitation category (ODS 6), an increase in fish recruitment of up to 38% was detected, indicating a favorable environment for feeding, sheltering and reproducing of different species. Several fish species had an increase of up to 100% of sampled biomass, which demonstrates greater food supply. Water flow velocity has been reduced, increasing hydraulic retention time by up to 63.5%, creating backwaters that attract biota and control bank erosion. Restructuring of habitats within the river was also noticed, with an increase in substrate heterogeneity by up to 46%, in addition to the reestablishment of the food chain among the main aquatic communities (ichthyofauna and benthic macroinvertebrates), indicating the ability to return to natural conditions.

Developed in partnership with Aplysia Soluções Ambientais and implemented in 2019, this solution integrates the actions of the Renova Foundation’s Tailings Management Program to restore aquatic life in the Gualaxo do Norte River, one of the main tributaries of the Doce River and which covers the municipalities Mariana, Ouro Preto and Barra Longa (MG).

“The award validates the efforts that the Renova Foundation has made to restore the environmental conditions prior to the collapse of the Fundão dam. Despite all the challenges faced, it is possible to bring life back to Gualaxo do Norte”, says Paulo Machado, a specialist in Tailings Management.

With the objective of recreating natural ecological characteristics and processes in stretches affected by the passage of tailings, the Pilot Project for the Ecological Restoration of the Gualaxo do Norte River started in 2019. In all, it revitalized an area of approximately 1.8 km, with the fixation of 79 tree trunks, in addition to 103 submerged trunks and 23 grass bundles along the river, in sections 6 and 7, upstream and downstream, respectively, from the confluence of the Santarém stream with the Gualaxo do Norte river.

In 2020, with the judicialization, Axis 1 (item 5) requested the expansion of the initiative, leading to the ecological restoration of another 2 kilometers, this time in stretch 9, near the Ponte do Gama community. This expansion had its field part completed in July 2021.

Learn more about the project:

About the SDGs

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call to action for all countries in 17 critical areas. Solutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals are among the focus areas under the Indian presidency of the BRICS.

Business has been instrumental in helping nations move forward on the SDGs. They have come up with innovative solutions and also play an active role in ensuring access to affordable, quality products and services in health, education, water and sanitation, energy and finance for low-income and underserved communities.


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