In the first week of September 2019 NBSO Belo Horizonte welcomed a group of twelve Dutch companies with expertise in geotechnical services, mining, tailing dam management, dam monitoring, alternative tailing disposal and water management. The so called fact-finding mission is part of a Pre Public Private Cooperation track where the Dutch companies evaluate the possibility to act as a cluster in cooperation with Dutch knowledge institutes and universities to offer joint solutions for mayor challenges. The week was opened by Mr. Roderick Wols, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brazil.
The Netherlands is highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding. Therefore, the Dutch territory is protected by a total of 17.000 km of dikes. Softening caused by high water or desiccation due to prolonged drought can cause dikes to collapse. As a result, effective dike monitoring is vitally important. Due to the huge extension of the dike network and the high risk involved, the Dutch have developed construction techniques as well as innovative inspection and monitoring techniques for the detection of failure mechanisms in dams and dikes.
This Dutch technology and expertise can be applied to challenges faced by mining companies regarding the building of dams, the management of tailing ponds and their monitoring systems. The Netherlands invest a lot of time, energy and money in developing new techniques and projects to improve the safety of living in a vulnerable delta and many solutions that apply to the Dutch situation can also be implemented in the field of dam safety improvement of mining operations.
During the fact finding week we visited the Mining HUB, the Federation of Industries (FIEMG) and the mining lab in the Centre for Innovation and technologies (CIT). Presentations on current rules and regulations were given by the National Mining Agency (ANM), the State Environmental Foundation (FEAM) and Prof. Hernani of the Univesity of Ouro preto (UFOP) gave an overview of the challenges faced in the decommissioning of tailing ponds. International tax specialist Tavernard lectured on the Brazilian import tax system for goods and services.
During he visit to the Brumadinho dam breach area we had a chance to pay homage to the victims of the tragedy of January 2019 and had a closer look at the mitigation efforts put in place.
We closed the week with company visits to Vale, BAMIN and Anglo American where the Dutch companies could discuss the challenges faced by these companies as well as the efforts to comply with the new rules and regulations regarding dam monitoring and decommissioning of critical structures. The Dutch companies had opportunities to present their approaches, experiences and techniques and numerous possibilities for cooperation have been identified. The next step in this process will be to study the best way to set up a Partners in Business Program for this Dutch cluster in Brazil.
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