2 Brazilian IT firms develop tailings dam monitoring solutions

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Brazilian technology solutions firm ProConcept Sistemas and IT startup DSafeTech are joining forces to develop tailings dam monitoring solutions.

The segment is attracting increasing demand. 

ProConcept, which is specialized in consulting, selling and implementing IT solutions, and software developer DSafeTech, are targeting mining and energy areas that need to modernize and optimize dam monitoring.

"This is a highly sensitive issue for mining companies in Brazil and their interest in finding solutions to better address the problems and mitigate risks with tailings dams is growing," Alexandre Souza Paes, founder and CEO of DSafeTech told BNamericas. 

Currently monitoring 55 dams in Brazil, 90% belonging to electric power firms, DSafeTech intends to expand into the mining segment.

The dozens of tailings dams increasingly create problems for miners, especially in Minas Gerais state, where decades of excavation produced huge amounts of tailings.

Under state law, tailings dams were to be decommissioned by February 25, but miners already said they’re unable to obey the deadline.

But “even after the completion of the entire process of decommissioning the dams, monitoring work will continue, because the dams will remain there,” said Paes.

The topic is urgent. In 2015 and in 2019, two tailings dams collapsed in Minas Gerais, causing around 300 fatalities and environmental devastation.

Earlier this year, miners grew especially concerned over the stability of tailings dams as heavy rains hit the region.

Major miners are investing heavily in decommissioning the dams.

Vale started eliminating the first of five upstream structures planned to be decommissioned this year. Overall, the company expects to have 12, or 40%, of its 30 tailings dams decommissioned by the end of this year.

Without detailing figures, mining association Ibram expects an important amount of the US$41.4bn to be invested through 2025 to go to development of technological solutions to treat mining waste and decommission dams.

Miners in Minas Gerais are projected to invest US$10.2bn, most of which will be to solve tailings dams problems.

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