Vale commissions Gelado Project to reuse tailings for pellet production in Brazil

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Brazilian mining company Vale has commissioned the $485 million Gelado Project in Carajás, Pará, with an aim to provide a sustainable destination for tailings.

The commissioning phase will carry out the performance and capacity tests with loading till the end of the first half of the year when the operation will start on a regular basis.

The Gelado Project will initially produce five million tons per year of pellet feed by reusing the tailings that have been deposited in the Gelado dam since Vale started operating in the region in 1985.

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The pellet feed will feed the company’s pelletizing facility in São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil, with a target to minimize its scope 3 emissions by 15% by 2035.

The project will also use 100% electric dredges, as well as electric pumps, to extract the material, as part of Vale’s initiatives to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, in scopes 1 and 2.

Vale commissions Gelado Project to reuse tailings for pellet production in Brazil

Vale commissions Gelado Project to reuse tailings for pellet production in Brazil. Photo courtesy of Felipe Borges/Vale.

Roberto Francisco — Gelado project operations manager said: “The environmental issue has been in focus since the conception of the Gelado project.

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“In addition to desilting the dam, we are reducing the amount of tailings in the structure and transforming them into a new product, avoiding the necessity of future raisings.

“We do this by focusing on reducing CO2 emissions.”

The Gelado Project is anticipated to reach its capacity of 10 million tons per year as soon as the Carajás Plant 1 conversion to natural humidity processing is completed.

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The project will eliminate 484,000 tons of CO2 over the next 10 years, which is equivalent to the consumption for one year of 105,000 gasoline-powered 1,000-cc cars.

Vale, which started marketing Sustainable Sand for civil construction, is also developing solutions for using sandy tailings to pave roads and even as a substitute for common cement.

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