Officine Maccaferri


Maccaferri provides rockfall protection for the world’s largest iron ore mine


Thanks to our worldwide mining experience we can help mine owners through all stages of their mine’s lifecycle

Our products and solutions can help mine owners with any kind of problem in each stage of their mine’s lifecycle, from access and material handling infrastructure, rockfall hazard mitigation, product concentration, and leachate storage, to dewatering and site remediation. Thanks to our on-the-ground presence in 100 countries, we are never far from our clients. We are always close by to give our engineering support and our quality geotechnical, geological and hydraulic solutions are delivered on time and installed rapidly, minimising disruption to mine productivity.

Our mining project portfolio can boast many projects worthy of international recognition. Among them is the S11D Eliezer Batista Complex, one of the largest mining project in Vale’s history and in the mining industry. Our Terramesh® and SteelGrid® products were used in a rockfall hazard mitigation application to protect the mine railway infrastructure.

Located in Canaan dos Carajás, in South-Eastern Pará State, Brazil, the S11D Eliezer Batista Complex has an iron ore production capacity of 90 MTPA (Million Tons per Annum) making it the largest iron ore mine project in the world.

The iron ore is transported by the Estrada de Ferro Carajás (EFC), through a new 101 km-long railway extension. This railway passes through difficult terrain, including cuttings where there was a risk of rocks and debris falling onto the tracks.

Rockfall protection and mitigation are key elements in the security and safety of mine works, people and infrastructure. These challenges had to be considered in the design process since even small rockfalls could block the railway line, preventing transportation of iron ore, causing far-reaching economic effects beyond the immediate disruption.

Addressing these project requirements, Maccaferri deployed more than 20,000 square meters of SteelGrid® high strength rockfall protection mesh, which was used for rock containment and protection at different locations along the new rail extension. The SteelGrid® mesh secured to the rock slope contains and controls rocks falling from the face, and prevents them landing on the tracks.

Elsewhere along the railway extension, the cutting works destabilized existing soil embankments. In these locations, slope stability was the problem rather than rock falls. In these areas, slope reinforcement measures were required. Over 1,400 of our Terramesh® System soil reinforcement units were used which feature a gabion fascia element with an integral double twisted steel wire mesh geogrid. These geogrids are placed within layers of compacted backfill, reinforcing it. The Terramesh® system solution proved to be the most technically and economically viable solution from those proposed.

MacService, the Maccaferri company installing the solution, were awarded the project for their efficiency, quality and commitment to safety requirements.

The mine complex is at the forefront on several technologies, e.g. it includes a truck-less system, which replaces the traditional off-road trucks with conveyor belts and reduces diesel fuel consumption by around 7%. It also uses a technique called natural moisture or dry processing, which cuts water consumption and does not require the use of tailings dams, thus reducing environmental impact.

For more on Maccaferri’s experience in mining, please contact us.

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