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Batata Lake

Date started: 1989 

In 1979, we began our operations, the method of containment of tailings was a delicate decision to be taken. At the time, there were two possible alternatives for disposing of tailings: the construction of a conventional dam or dispose of the tailings into one of the lakes in the region. Because the topography of the area is virtually flat, the construction of the dam was not considered because it would flood a large area of forest. Thus, between 1979 and 1989, no other technology available and being in compliance with environmental laws at the time, the tailings were disposed of into the Batata Lake, which affected approximately 30% of its surface.

Despite being clay material only, which is a non-toxic element, the tailings created an area of high turbidity in the water column and led to the suppression of part of the vegetation in the lake, generating impact on the the food chain in that area.

Over the ensuing decades, however, we have reviewed the concepts and actions related to environmental management. Since 1987, we have invested in technology development and alternatives to stop the release of tailings into the lake. We began, then, monitoring and conducting ecological study of that ecosystem through partnerships and agreements with scientists and university researchers.

Developed in 1989, with investments of over US$ 89 million, a pioneering method of treatment, clean and totally non-aggressive to the environment, where all the unused material, resulting from the washing of bauxite, is kept confined in special tanks in their own mining area, which are then revegetated.

Currently, the Batata Lake shows clear signs of recovery. It contains over 50 species of fish, out of which 17 are associated with the permanently flooded forest, and it has more than 65 hectares of replanted area. In 1991, during the flood in the silted up area of Batata Lake (Caranã), 19 species were recorded, out of which only five were associated with the permanently flooded forest.

As important as advances in research and the consequent recovery of the lake has been the formal registration and availability of results in scientific publications which we support. We do not measure efforts to do so because we believe it is essential to share successful experiences.

The work developed in Batata Lake is permanent subject to masters and doctoral theses, as well as other academic papers. One of the publications mostly referred to is the book "Lago Batata: impacto e recuperação de um ecossistema amazônico" (Batata Lake: impact and recovery of an Amazonian ecosystem) by professors and doctors Bozelli Reinaldo Francisco Esteves, both from UFRJ, and Fabio Rolland (UFJF). ​​

Clear signs of recovery
Claros sinais de recuperação
Claros sinais de recuperação
Claros sinais de recuperação
Claros sinais de recuperação

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