Crisis Management in the Minas-Rio Pipeline Incident: The Case Study of the Mining Industry

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    August 19, 2020
  • Duration:
    20 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.40

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Alan Burdin Sr., Safety, Health and Environamental, Independent Consultant, Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil and Mauricio Guadalupe, Independent Consultant, Brazil

Crisis management in the pipeline incident: the case study of the mining industry
This paper aims at presenting the case study involving the incident of the iron ore concentrate pipeline, in Brazil, South American when it was applied the Inccident Command System methodology. Two incidents marked the venture's history. On the 12th, there was a rupture of the pipeline, causing a discharge of 318 tons of iron ore in the Santo Antônio do Grama Stream, causing the interruption of water supply in the municipality of Santo Antônio do Grama (MG) town. After the repairs and immediately after the return of the operation, a second rupture occurred on March 29, 400 meters from the site of the first rupture, causing the dumping of 174 tons of ore over the Santo Antônio do Grama Stream and 473 tons over a Rural property. Both incidents had environmental, financial, social and reputational impacts on the community. As an immediate response, a crisis committee was set up, which conducted a management process, resulting in the completed remediation of environmental damage and the safe and sustainable return of the pipeline operation in December 23.

Incident Response Actions involved:

  • The water supply to the municipality of Santo Antônio do Grama - immediately, 16 water trucks were mobilized and gallons of water were acquired, ensuring the supply of almost 25,000 m³ of drinking water to the population in just 7 days. In addition, a water body capable of supplying the municipality was identified and a pumping station and a water pipeline were built to bring water from it to the water treatment plant. So, the public supply was normalized in 4 days and after the first 7 days, the municipality gained a new adductor.
  • The Environmental remediation - Between March and May, the creek was completely cleared and nearly 23,000 tonnes of contaminated material was removed and used to recover a landfill area outside the affected area that was already degraded prior to the incidents.
  • The water Quality Monitoring - In the early days of the breach, a water resources monitoring campaign began. These campaigns were completed in one year after incidents and demonstrate that Santo Antônio do Grama Stream has no environmental impacts related to the incidents, returning to their original state prior to the disruptions.


Recovery of degraded areas - environmental rehabilitation of river banks impacted by remediation activities. Given the above, it is concluded that company has learned the lessons learned from both incidents, implementing several actions to prevent further leaks. Since the return of operations, there have been no disruptions or any other

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