IHC Mining has provided four all-electric mining dredgers for our client Vale and their Projeto Gelado in Brazil, with which they can reduce the CO2 emissions of their mining operation.

Sustainable mining solution to fit our client’s carbon emission targets

Vale wanted a solution to recover iron ore from the tailings dams of the Carajás mining complex in the state of Pará (Brazil).

The tailings in this very large tailings dam – Gelado – have been deposited there since 1985, when Vale began operating in the region. The tailings in this dam still contain high enough concentrations of iron ore to produce high-quality pellet feed. This was the reason for Vale to set up their ‘Projeto Gelado’, a program designed to reprocess the tailings and recover 10 million tons of high-quality iron ore per year from the tailings dam.

The mining solution had to have a strong sustainable focus and low environmental impact, as it needed to contribute to Vale’s targets for reducing carbon emission.

Four electrical dredgers perfectly fit for the circumstances

As the Gelado dam contains a lot of water, the operation is ideal for the Cutter Suction Dredgers. The four customised dredgers will remove the material from the dam and pump it to a large processing plant, thereby avoiding the need for new deposits and landfills.

The dredgers are fully electric so they can be connected to the electrical system at the mine site. A special dredge pump system has been installed for optimal use in iron ore tailings and to meet Vale’s pumping conditions.

In addition, the dredgers are fully adapted to the circumstances, meaning that the engineering has anticipated local Brazilian rules and standards. The equipment is locally built and with a local project team we maintain our valued and optimal cooperation between Vale and Royal IHC.

The Gelado dredgers
The Gelado dredgers
View from the bridge
View from the bridge

Training for sustainable mining

Since the delivery of the dredgers IHC Mining has provided continuous support by means of a dedicated team on site and back-office support from the Netherlands. IHC is committed to providing Vale with all necessary support during the start-up phase and further continuation of the operation. An essential part of our support is dedicated training.

A total of ten of Vale’s inspectors and machine operators were professionally trained at the IHC Training Institute in the Netherlands to work with the dredgers. This enhanced the development of local professionals prepared to practice state-of-the-art and more sustainable mining.

Electrical dredger being lit up
Electrical dredger being lit up
Dredgers in the tailings dam
Dredgers in the tailings dam

Carbon emission and production target to be reached over ten years

The use of electric dredges at Gelado is part of Vale's initiatives to achieve its carbon emission targets. Among the measures Vale adopted to achieve this goal is the replacement of fossil fuels with clean sources in operations, focusing on the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels, greater efficiency in operations using new technologies.

These 100% electric CSDs, as well as the electric pumps, use electricity from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels such as diesel. With this solution, over 10 years’ time, the Gelado project will stop emitting a total of 484,000 tons of CO2, which is an equivalent of the consumption for one year of 105,000 gasoline-powered 1,000-cc cars.

Next to that, with this solution the initial production capacity will be 5 million tons per year. After the conversion of Carajás Plant 1 to natural humidity processing, planned for the next few years, the Gelado Project will reach its capacity of 10 million tons per year.

Electric mining dredger

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