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Vale creates company to sell sand from iron-ore tailings

17th October 2023

By: Bloomberg

  

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian miner Vale aid on Tuesday it has created a company that will sell and distribute sand obtained from its iron ore tailings, part of its efforts to reduce the disposal of such materials in dams or piles following major disasters.

The mining giant in recent years was involved in two tailings dam collapses in Brazil that left hundreds dead and caused serious environmental damage, leading it to search for ways to reduce its reliance on such structures.

Named Agera, the new sand company emerges from a spin-off from part of Vale and expects to sell 1 million metric tons of sand this year, generating revenue of 18-million reais ($3.57 million), executives told Reuters.

The volume is still small compared to the about 47-million tons of tailings that came from Vale's operations in 2022, but the firms hope Agera will help sand output grow in coming years.

"Vale has been looking to give its waste a more sustainable destination since 2014. It has been a matter of research for a long time," Vale's general manager for New Businesses, Tatiana Teixeira, told Reuters.

"The goal is to boost circular mining and reduce our dependence on structures for the disposal of tailings."

Vale, which also plans to fully eliminate its upstream tailing dams, has been selling sand obtained from tailings since 2021.

Agera expects sales to reach of 2.1 million tons in 2024 and 3 million in 2025, according to the new firm's chief executive, Fabio Cerqueira. That would bring revenue to 63 million reais next year, he said.

Edited by Bloomberg

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