The Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (Fiemg) in Brazil is reportedly claiming that mining operators in the region are running out of time to remove tailings dams using upstream designs and could miss the deadline entirely.
The group told Reuters it is seeking the removals because of the trend of past collapses of the dams, including the incident at Brumadinho that killed 270. A deadline of 25 February has been in place since September 2020 (the law first came to light in 2019).
At the same time, the industry has been vocally opposed to the deadline for the Minas Gerias law, calling it unrealistic, the news wire said, though those who choose to breach the law could find their licenses suspended.
Fiemg said 18 of the 48 upstream dams in the Brazilian state will be decommissioned by the deadline, according to the group’s survey provided to Reuters. Another six are scheduled for removal by the end of 2022.
Fiemg said it has decided to appeal to the courts to avoid potential penalties linked to the deadline and will look for ways to make the work more flexible for operations as the work scope dictates.
“We don’t want it to be slower, one must do what is safest. Decommissioning in a hurry would also be a risk,” said Fiemg President Flavio Roscoe in a Reuters interview.
Vale has eliminated four upstream dams in Minas Gerais since 2019 as well as three of the 30 it owns in the state of Pará. This week, the operator began to decommission the first of five dams that are scheduled to be completely decommissioned later this year in the Minas Gerais state.