Hydro is investing in meteorological and climatological research with the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) to improve the management of water resources at its bauxite mine in Paragominas. With an investment of around BRL 200 thousand and lasting three years, the project will help the company to understand the seasonality of rainfall and the impact of global phenomena; have daily, monthly and annual forecasts of the rainfall volume and know the probability of occurrence of severe drought in the coming years. The study is part of the agreement between Hydro and UFPA to develop research in different areas and is intended to make the reuse of rainwater at the unit even more efficient.
“We are always looking to improve our operations in all aspects. The development of this project is another example of this commitment to sustainability through innovation. The results of this study will help us to define strategies, mainly in the reuse of water from the mine. It's science working in favor of new processes and operational improvements”, says Evilmar Fonseca, industrial director of Mineração Paragominas.
The bauxite mine has been annually increasing the percentage of water reused in its operations. In 2020, this indicator reached 83.3%, the highest index in history. The expectation for 2021 is that the reuse of water will exceed 80% again. These numbers have been achieved through strict operational control and improvements in the water management of Mineração Paragominas' water supply systems. In April of last year, a Permanent Water Resources Management Committee was created, which allowed for the improvement of strategies and control of the unit's water balance variables.
Mineração Paragominas uses sustainable practices to reduce the use of natural water resources in its industrial plant. This is done through suitable equipment, called thickeners, structures for clarifying waste water and optimizing the use of rainwater. All this volume is used in the process and the remaining balance is collected through the Parariquara stream, which is part of the Guamá river basin, the water body closest to the mine area.
Agreement already has four other surveys
Hydro has already announced four research projects with UFPA, in the areas of the use of residues and tailings and in the production of solar energy. Investing in research is part of Hydro's sustainability strategy. In 2020, the company announced two researches that are already in progress, being the production of cement and synthetic aggregate, both with the residue from the refining of bauxite, which is generated at Alunorte, which is located in Barcarena. That year, another survey was announced, which will study the feasibility of using the waste ore from Hydro's bauxite mine to produce tiles, bricks, refractory materials, low-carbon cement and even a biodegradable plastic. A survey was also announced on the use of solar panels in its bauxite mine in Paragominas (PA). The university will carry out tests with a floating photovoltaic system in the water reservoir at Mineração Paragominas.
The four projects are part of the technical and scientific cooperation agreement between Hydro and the University, which began in 2019, to carry out several lines of research that will enable the consolidation of the development of the state of Pará.