Homem manipulando um robô que está em cima de uma mesa à frente dele. Ele usa máscara e blusa preta. Ele está em um laboratório.

Photo: Institutional Collection

The search for safer and more sustainable mining is part of our essence

For this reason, one of our priorities is to acquire new knowledge and, based on them, develop solutions used in the mining chain. Our projects stand out for the health, safety and integrity of people, for productivity with energy efficiency and reduction of CO² emissions.

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Fiber Optic Technology in Mine Shaft Safety Monitoring

Foto aérea de uma mina aberta

Photo: Institutional Collection

Our goal is to pioneer the application of fiber optic technology to assess the geotechnical behavior of deep mine pit rock masses and contribution of improve de safety factor. The use of this resource is being initially applied at the Tamanduá 2021 mine, with the installation of a fiber optic sensor system in boreholes 90 meters deep. The data obtained will be compared with the results of simulations and traditional instruments.

3D Geotechnical Modeling

Imagem digital 3D de um pedaço de solo.

Photo: Institutional Collection

This initiative aims to contribute to a safe and economical mining operation, based on 3D numerical hydrogeotechnical modeling, calibration with practical data and optimization of pit slopes. This work is being applied at the Morro Agudo 2017,  Tamanduá in 2018, N4E in 2019, N4WS in 2020 and Salobo in 2021 Vale’s mines.

Mine Road Optimization

Imagem digital aérea que retrata os parâmetros estruturais, geométricos e funcionais das estradas de minas com sinalizações em azul e verde.

Photo: Institutional Collection

We research the influence of structural, geometric, and functional parameters of mine roads, based on rolling resistance and gradient. Our goals are to increase productivity while reducing costs and CO2 emissions based in geotechnical 3D modelling, in situ tests and measure operational parameters. The project has developed numerical models with practical validation at the Carajás and Itabira complexes, an actually we working in Capão Xavier mine.

Increased productivity and reduced costs from blasting to crushing

Imagem digital de uma operação de mina em que é possível ver o solo, com um caminhão passando, e seu subsolo. Há vários modelos numéricos desenhados na imagem.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Our goal on this project is to increase productivity and reduce operating costs in the chain of drilling, blasting, loading, transport and primary crushing, based on X80 ore fragmentation at the blasting stage. We have developed numerical models, which are validate in Carajás mines and apply at pilot level in S11D and Itabira mines.

Vibration and Noise Control in Mine Environment – VibraRuído

Imagem digital que mostra ondas de vibração e ruído em um ambiente de mina.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Within the rock blasting process, caused vibration and air blast, which can effects of human uncomforted and structures damage at communities neighboring Vale’s mining operations. Additionally this project aims to protect the tailing dams by blasting vibration and prevents uncomforted and possible structural damage caused of train vibration  in Vale’s railway mineral transport operations. The devolve methodology apply in Fazendão, Timbopeba, Moatize, Salobo, Alegria, Viga and Itabira Vale’s mines.

Waters study in mineral processing

Estação de tratamento de água. Há estruturas de ferro nas bordas e, no centro, grande quantidade de água de cor azul.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Iron ore concentration plants by flotation use a large volume of water. A large amount of this water, containing residual reagents and colloids, is recirculated for different processes, such as sieving, desliming, and flotation. However, the physicochemical composition of water can impact process efficiency.  Then, the objective is to reduce the consumption of reagents and new water by developing a process route for water reuse and/or disposal according to environmental legislation.

Development of bioreagents

Imagem acinzentada de uma microscopia eletrônica de varredura: elétrons secundários – aumento 10000x.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Substitution of the actual synthetic reagents by environmentally friendly analogs can bring not only social and environmental advantages but also economic ones. Thus, the development of new reagents requires knowledge of the mineral-reagent interaction mechanisms, allowing them to be adapted to the needs of each ore. In this way, we contribute to a more sustainable process, as well as increasing metallurgical recovery and product quality.

Moisture reduction

Foto área de uma operação.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Moisture in bulk ores is an important parameter in handling and shipping operations, especially in the maritime modal. The magnitude of the moisture content is regulated by the International Maritime Organization – IMO, through the TML (Transportable Moisture Limit) parameter, in order to ensure safe conditions for the transport operation. Our study of drying operations with hot and dry air injection in transfer chutes and the technical mastery of the process are in line with the demand of the production chain that aims to reduce moisture in the final product.

Adsorption of modified starch

Painel com diversos fios e botões.

Photo: Institutional Collection

Among the factors that cause the loss of iron minerals in the reverse flotation process are the failure of the depressant reagent (starch) and the presence of fine hematite particles and different morphologies. Understanding what happens in the process can show us ways to improve it. In addition, changes in the starch structure may contribute to better depression of hematite and, consequently, result in metallurgical recovery gains.

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