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Retaining walls for tailings


Fast, green & watertight

Steel sheet piles was the chosen solution for the construction of 2 retaining walls at the course of River ‘Rio Doce’, after the rupture of a mining residues dam in the district of Mariana, Minas Gerais state in Brazil. Sheet pile barriers were designed to hold and retain mining residues which were disposed after the incident, allowing its sedimentation and avoiding further carriage.

ArcelorMittal Projects were already in discussions with the contractor from the very beginning to evaluate the alternatives to contain the residues after the incident. Technical support from our engineering staff was at the customers’ disposal, including several studies conducted in which different solutions were then presented. After numerous meetings and studies by both parties, a basic concept to build the retaining walls was defined, followed by the final and executive project development.

Fast execution, cleanliness and efficiency were the main drivers of adopting the steel sheet pile solution. In addition, considering the environment where the barriers were implemented, and water tightness of the system, steel sheet piles prove to be the best and innovative engineering solution when facing this critical scenario.

The first barrier started building during the end of 2015 and was concluded early 2016. A wall was built with a combined PAZ solution, including the usage of intermediate AZ sheet piles.

The second barrier had its final piles driven in mid-2017; with a time frame of approximately 4 months to drive the pipes and intermediate AZ piles through a depth of 270m across the river section. PAZ solution was also the alternative option, with piles reaching up to 40m long.

Pipes and the new AZ series of sheet piles were also supplied to the project from stock. In total, over 3000 ton of specialty foundation steel was delivered.