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Vale launches pilot project for environmental recovery at Feijao dam breach area

Mining giant Vale SA said Jan. 13 that it has launched pilot project Zero Milestone for the environmental recovery of an area affected by the Feijao iron ore mine's tailings dam breach in Brumadinho, Brazil.

The project aims to reestablish the original conditions of the Ferro-Carvão stream, revegetate the riparian forest with native plants, and recover the Paraopeba river.

The company said that the first challenge of the project is to recreate the layout of the stream prior to the breach, which involves the removal of 130,000 cubic meters of tailings from the stretch. The re-vegatation process, meanwhile, will be carried out in three phases.

Vale has assigned a team of 60 people at the peak of the activities.

The pilot project is expected to be completed by February. Vale said that Zero Milestone may then be evaluated, adjusted, and if proven effective, may be replicated to other areas affected by the dam breach, on a case-to-case basis.

The investments in the program are part of the funds for emergency containment works in Brumadinho, which should amount to 1.8 billion Brazilian reais by 2023, according to Vale.

Reuters recently reported that a total of 15 to 20 people are expected to be indicted in relation to the tailings dam collapse. The group includes executives from the mining giant, employees from German inspection company TÜV SÜD AG, and the two companies themselves, according to the report.

As of Jan. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 4.13 Brazilian reais.