Dry mining in Brazil: A cost-benefit analysis after the tragedies of Mariana and Brumadinho

By Pedro Gagliardi

[24 min read]

SUMMARY

This paper examines the costs and benefits of dry processing and/or dry stacking as alternative production methods for the current mining operations in Brazil. Both methods prevent the formation of tailings dams, which are created as a result of the extraction of iron ore. This paper carries out a cost-benefit analysis which tries – firstly – to quantify the benefits for society of avoiding tailings dam collapses like Marina in 2015 and Brumadinho, in 2019, and – secondly – estimate the cost related to investing in dry processing methods for mining; the changes in production costs; and the cost of decommissioning current tailing dams.

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