Located in the state of Goiás in Brazil, around 170km north-west of Brasilia, is the nickel-producing mine and processing plant, Barro Alto.

The state-of-the-art site was commissioned in 2011 and built at a capital cost of $1.9bn. It is one of the world’s newest and most efficient operations of its type and functions as a nickel-producing mine and processing plant.

The project consists of an open pit mine and a ferronickel plant. Additional infrastructure included an electrical main station with a maximum demand of 210MW, and a water dam.

The increasing problem faced by companies is the disposal of waste and with the demands for greater landfill capacity brings with it the constantly changing engineering challenges.

Geotechnical specialists Maccaferri, conceived a leachate pond to enable the safe disposal of waste materials.

They were able to offer their Anglo American clients their experience in the development of integrated designs for landfills and provided a waterproofing system to protect the native ground from contamination and pollution by mining leachate lagoons.

Energy and water considerations during design included the plant layout which allows solid gravity flow, kiln waste heat recovery, high efficiency electric motors, and waste usage in a closed circuit.

Maccaferri MacLine® SDH geomembranes manufactured from quality high-density polyethylene resins were used. They comply with the most rigorous requirements established for their use in terms of welding and tightness.

MacLine SDH contains not less than 97% of pure polyethylene polymer and a balance not higher than 3% of carbon, black, antioxidants and thermal stabilisers. The product does not contain plasticisers or fillers that could migrate over time.

MacLine SDH geomembranes are manufactured under permanent quality control and comply with national and international standards.

The use of the geogrids to reinforce soil enabled the steepening of slopes within the landfill cells enabling maximisation of volumes available for waste disposal.

According to Maccaferri, the technologies they offer help to make mines more efficient and safer.

And they were also able to offer their clients best value and environmentally friendly solutions: selecting from a wide range of products to maximise the opportunity to reuse site-won materials and drive down the carbon footprint of the solution.