TAILINGS MANAGEMENT

The affected region covers 670 km of watercourses and was divided into 17 sections. Renova Foundation defined the most appropriate actions and techniques for the repair of each one, based on the specific indicators of each part, such as volume, thickness, and characteristics of the tailings, in addition to the environmental conditions.

MORE THAN 80 EXPERTS WERE GATHERED BY RENOVA TO DEVELOP THE TAILINGS MANAGEMENT PLAN, A SET OF SOLUTIONS PRIORITIZING THE TAILINGS TREATMENT IN THE RIVER AND ITS SURROUNDINGS WITHOUT REMOVING IT, WHICH WOULD CAUSE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

 

  • By now, actions have been defined for stretches corresponding to Mariana’s route to the Barra Longa border.
  • On the stretch of the Gualaxo do Norte river, between the Camargo and Santarém streams, the renaturalization process (placement of logs on the river bed) was initiated.
  • In the Gualaxo do Norte river, a pilot project for the Natural Treatment Stations was implemented, which uses filtering barriers and vegetation islands in the river channel to filter water and absorb metals.
  • The definition for the removal of tailings occurred in two locations: Barra Longa (MG State), the only municipality with an urban area directly affected by the mud, and Camargos waterfall, in the Mariana district (MG State).

For more information:

Major Themes Tailings Management

RISOLETA NEVES HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANT

 

One of the most critical areas is the region of the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga). It played a key role in retaining 10.5 million m³ of tailings, preventing them from going to the Doce River channel. Cleaning the reservoir is a complex operation, which began in February 2016. Giving the plant the conditions to resume its operation involves innovative and unprecedented engineering solutions.

  • 3 metallic bars were built inside the plant’s reservoir – located 400 meters, five kilometers and six kilometers from the Candonga dam, respectively. The barriers will be submerged after filling the reservoir.
  • 959 thousand m³ of material were pumped from the plant’s reservoir.
    Pumping removes sediment from the reservoir, which is formed by 80% water and 20% tailings. This material is accommodated at Fazenda Floresta, located 3 km from the plant.

RECOVERY OF DEGRADED AREAS

The recovery process of the areas impacted by the Fundão dam collapse involved, at first, cleaning the gutters and stabilizing the banks of the Gualaxo do Norte and Carmo rivers, between Mariana and Santa Cruz do Escalvado Cities (MG State). In order to combat erosion and prevent the mud accumulated on the outside of rivers from falling into the gutters, native species were planted. The tributaries which practically disappeared from the landscape after the Fundão dam collapse had to be completely redesigned based on geoprocessing information.

  • Approximately 800 hectares of emergency planting to control erosion.
  • 113 recovered tributaries – small rivers that feed the High Doce River.
  • 1,522 hectares of erosion control and margin reconformation, through bioengineering works on plains.
  • Drainage paths were redone between Mariana and Doce River (MG State).

Studies from Federal University of Viçosa (UFV)

  • Study coordinated by Dr. Maria Catarina Megumi Kasuya, a specialist in soil microbiology, proved that emergency revegetation accelerated the increase in the diversity of microorganisms in the soil. This research will support the production of seedlings in nurseries in the Doce River Basin.
  • There are no limitations for direct cultivation in the tailings. Research conducted by professor Dr. Carlos Schaefer, a soil specialist, has been monitoring the soil directly affected by the tailings since 2015 and has shown there are no risks for planting on properties which have received repair actions.
    60 soil collection points, distributed between the Fundão dam and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant, generate samples for periodic analyzes on the soil toxicity and the nature of the deposited tailings.
  • Another study led by Professor Sebastião Venâncio, a doctor in botany, shows high survival of seedlings of native species planted over the tailings. The research also found out the tailings does not represent an impediment to natural regeneration because it does not contain toxic substances.

INTEGRATED REPAIR OF RURAL PROPERTIES

Renova Foundation supports rural producers who have been impacted by the passage of tailings through the implementation of a sustainable economic production model, which is appropriate to the local reality. Among the actions, the promotion and support for the environmental readjustment of these properties are highlighted, as recommended by the regulations of Brazilian legislation.

PROPERTIES IN THE HIGH DOCE RIVER REGION

Located on a stretch of 100 kilometers between the Fundão dam and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant, in the municipalities of Mariana, Barra Longa, Ponte Nova, Rio Doce and Santa Cruz do Escalvado.

  • Productive Environmental Zoning (ZAP) of the Gualaxo do Norte River Basin and the Carmo River Basin concluded;
  • Properties were diagnosed by using the Agrosystem Sustainability Indicator (ISA) – more than 4,000 evaluated indexes;
  • More than 160 rural properties are receiving actions to promote the resumption of their agricultural activities;
  • All these properties are eligible for the Socioeconomic and Environmental Adequacy Plan (PASEA) which aims to promote environmental adequacy, improve rural structures, among other measures;
    PASEA was created by the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Minas Gerais (Seapa) and was put into practice through the partnership of the Renova Foundation with the Minas Gerais Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company (Emater-MG)
  • Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ATER): more than 2,540 hours carried out from the second half of 2019 to the moment.

OTHER 5 THOUSAND HOURS OF ATER WERE PERFORMED BY RENOVA FOUNDATION TEAMS BETWEEN JANUARY 2017 AND AUGUST 2019 IN AFFECTED RURAL PROPERTIES. THE GOAL IS TO PROMOTE THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION PRACTICES AND DIRECT SUPPORT TO FAMILIES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE PROPERTY AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF PRODUCTS, COMPLEMENTING THE INTEGRATED VIEW OF PASEAS.

PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION

  • About 160 hectares impacted by the Fundão dam collapse are liable to be planted with agricultural crops and will be recovered.
  • More than 800 hectares of areas which have not been impacted will be upgraded, expanding the region’s economic and environmental sustainability chain.
  • 21 properties were selected as model forestry farms for native species, ecological pasture management and agroforestry systems.
  • 25 Demonstrative Units will be implemented.
    Partnership between Renova Foundation, WRI Brasil, International Center for Agroforestry Research (ICRAF) and Ecological Farm.
  • More than 400 simple rural infrastructures completed, including barns, pigsties and chicken coops.
  • More than 380 ‘little dams’ were built to store rainwater.
  • Over 42 thousand tons of silage delivered to impacted rural producers
  • 189 fenced springs and 48 springs with forest planting carried out.

THE GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF THE CATTLE HERD FROM THE RURAL PROPERTIES AFFECTED BY THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE IS AMONG THE WORKS CARRIED OUT BY THE RENOVA FOUNDATION. KNOWN AS ‘RENOVA HERD’, THE INITIATIVE AIMS TO INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION, COMBINING THE TECHNOLOGY OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION WITH MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES. BY NOW, 447 CALF BIRTHS HAVE BEEN REGISTERED.

PROPERTIES IN THE MIDDLE AND LOW DOCE RIVER REGIONS

Located on the stretch after the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant to Linhares (ES State), in the region of the mouth of the Doce River.

  • 280 families in rural settlements in the municipalities of Tumiritinga and Periquito, in Minas Gerais State, and Linhares, in Espírito Santo State are receiving technical assistance actions.
  • 257 properties diagnosed through the Agrosystem Sustainability Indicator (ISA).
  • More than 7 thousand hours of Technical Assistance and Social Extension (ATES).
    Assistance modality adapted to the family arrangement of the agrarian reform settlers.
  • Another 711 rural properties in the middle and lower Doce River regions will receive Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ATER) actions.

FOREST RESTORATION

Renova Foundation works in an integrated manner for the environmental revitalization of the Doce River Basin, combining actions for the protection of springs, the recovery of Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and water recharge areas. The action in these areas contributes to improving the quality and quantity of water from alternative sources in the region.

    R$ 1.2 billion will be allocated to forest restoration initiatives, one of the largest in the country in a hydrographic basin.
  • 40 thousand hectares of APPs will be restored by 2027, with 10,000 hectares with no-tillage of approximately 20 million seedlings.
  • Approximately 800 hectares are being implemented in the municipalities of Governador Valadares, Coimbra, Periquito and Galileia, in Minas Gerais State; and Colatina, Marilândia and Pancas, in Espírito Santo State.
  • Approximately 800 thousand seedlings of Atlantic Forest species will be used in this stage.
  • More than 680 rural producers participate in the initiative.
  • 5,000 springs will undergo a recovery process by 2027
  • More than 1,500 springs are already protected and in the process of being restored.
  • 1 million seedlings were produced to be used during the recovery of these springs.
  • More than 720 rural properties are partners in these actions.
    Partnership with the Francisca Veras Training Center, an organization of Governador Valadares formed by settled families and mediated by the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), will enable the forest restoration of 180 hectares of Permanent Preservation Areas and Water Recharge in four Minas Gerais settlements, located in Santa Maria do Suaçuí, Periquito, Campanário and Jampruca.

PAYMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (PSA): R$ 209 MILLION PAID TO PRODUCERS, UNTIL THE MOMENT, FOR COMPROMISING TO ALLOW THE RESTORATION OF SOURCES, APPS, ARHS, WATERSHEDS OR SOURCES OF WATER AT THEIR PROPERTIES.

WATER QUALITY

The water from the Doce River can be consumed after undergoing conventional treatment in municipal supply systems. That is what the more than 3 million data generated annually by the largest watercourse monitoring system in Brazil, created by the Renova Foundation in 2017 to monitor the Doce River, indicate.

  • More than 3 million data generated by the monitoring program per year.
  • 650 kilometers of monitoring rivers and lagoons, plus 230 kilometers of monitoring along the coastal and estuarine zones.
  • 92 monitoring points distributed in the Doce River and in the coastal zone indicate the raw water from the Doce River can be consumed after being treated.
  • Among these points, there are 22 automatic stations, which generate information in real time.
  • 80 physical, chemical, and biological parameters are analyzed in water and 40 in sediments.
  • More than 300 water monitoring points for human consumption in 30 municipalities.
  • In 2020, a budget of R$ 48 million is foreseen for actions to continue the water and sediment monitoring programs in the Doce River Basin and coastal and estuarine zones.

FIVE ORGANS PARTICIPATE IN THIS WORK THROUGH A TECHNICAL GROUP OF MONITORING: NATIONAL WATER AGENCY (ANA), BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES (IBAMA), CHICO MENDES INSTITUTE OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION (ICMBIO), MINAS GERAIS INSTITUTE OF WATER MANAGEMENT (IGAM) AND THE ESPÍRITO DO SANTO STATE AGENCY OF WATER RESOURCES (AGERH).

For more information:

Major Themes Water Journey for recovery

BIODIVERSITY

Renova Foundation acts on two fronts for biodiversity actions, both focused on monitoring and producing studies related to the impacts of the Fundão dam collapse – these are studies about terrestrial flora and fauna, Doce River aquatic biota and sea monitoring. From the result of this joint work, guidelines for the preservation of the ecosystem along the Doce River will be established in the impacted section, at the mouth and in the coastal zone, conclusions about the consumption of fish in human food and about the approval of fishing native species with no threats to the continuity of the local fauna, among others.

  • More than 30 educational, research, business and NGOs institutions are partners of the Renova Foundation in these projects.
  • About 800 professionals work on these fronts.

TERRESTRIAL FAUNA AND FLORA

  • Monitoring will detect the levels of residual metals in vertebrates and invertebrates, in terrestrial flora, in river islands and in the soil along the Doce River.

AQUATIC AND MARINE BIOTA

  • About 250 monitoring points.
  • Approximately 600 professionals.
  • More than 43 thousand samples of water, sediments, animals, and vegetables in the first year of development of the monitoring projects.
  • Partnerships with the Espírito-Santense Technology Foundation (FEST), Rio Doce Mar Network, Society for Forestry Investigations (SIF) and Federal University of Viçosa for monitoring aquatic biodiversity in Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais States.
  • Partnership with the Biodiversitas Foundation to assess the conservation status of native fishes and aquatic invertebrates of the Doce River.
  • Partnership with the Minas Gerais Research Support Foundation (FAPEMIG) to carry out a Call for Research, Development, and Innovation to monitor the biodiversity of Minas Gerais aquatic environments in areas impacted by the Fundão dam collapse.

PROJECT IN PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN RENOVA AND PRO-TAMAR FOUNDATIONS MONITORES THE CONDITIONS OF SEA TURTLES IN AN AREA COVERING 159 KM OF ESPÍRITO SANTO BEACHES. SPAWNING OCCURRENCES ARE STRICTLY RECORDED TO IDENTIFY ANY CHANGES IN THE ANIMAL’S REPRODUCTIVE PATTERN, WHICH BECAME A SYMBOL OF PRESERVATION IN THE REGION. THE STUDY IS PERFORMED DURING THE YEAR AND IS REINFORCED IN THE TURTLE SPAWNING PHASE, FROM SEPTEMBER TO MARCH.

IMPACTS ON CONSERVATION UNITS

  • 40 Conservation Units (UCs) may have been directly or indirectly affected by the dam collapse.
  • The impact assessment studies were completed for 6 Conservation Units evaluated and are still in progress for the others.

RENOVA FOUNDATION WILL PAY FOR THE ACTIONS TO CONSOLIDATE THE DOCE RIVER STATE PARK (MG STATE) AND THE SANTA CRUZ (ES STATE) WILDLIFE REFUGE, IN ADDITION TO THE HEADQUARTERS CONSTRUCTION, ELABORATION AND EXECUTION OF THE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE NEW ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AREA OF DOCE RIVER (ES STATE) WHICH WILL STILL BE CREATED BY THE PUBLIC POWER.

RECOVERY OF THE WILD FAUNA

  • Another work front will work on the construction and equipping of two Wild Animal Screening and Rehabilitation Centers (CETRAS), one in Minas Gerais State and another in Espírito Santo State. After the deliveries, Renova Foundation must ensure resources for the maintenance of the two CETRAS for a period of three years.