1 Department of Sanitary and Environmental Enginnering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

2 Vale Mining Co., Nova Lima, Brazil


The paper presents the case study of the current formation of a Brazilian pit lake from an iron ore mining activity. The water used for the filling of the lake comes from rain, ground water and the complementary pumpage from a close river. At its final stage, which will be reached around year 2018, Lake Aguas Claras will have a surface area of 0.67 km2 and the depth of 234 m, which will make it the deepest lake in the country. The filling of the lake began in the year 2001 and a monthly monitoring programme (physical, chemical and biological characteristics) is since then in course Theanalyses show that Lake Âguas Claras presents a very good water quality (well oxygenated, low values of colour and turbidity, limited degree of mineralization, pH slightly alkaline, low nutrient concentrations, excellent bacteriological conditions), together with a remarkable shift in the dominance of phytoplanktonic groups, indicating the high instability of lakes that are undergoing a process of formation. One relevant point in the management of this valuable water resource is to create adequate conditions for the protection of the aquatic environment. Considering the very probable maintenance of these favourable characteristics in future years, the possible uses of the lake will be directed to recreation (swimming, diving, sailing and fishing), amenity value and water supply.