The tailings filtration plant is the first of four the company plans to build in the state before 2024, at an estimated total cost of US$2.3 billion.
The filtration process dewaters the iron ore tailings so most of the material to be stacked in a solid-state, reducing any reliance on dams.
Vale expects to start-up a first filtration plant in its Itabira Complex this year, and a second in 2022, while next year the first at its Brucutu site will start operating.
The four tailings filtration plants will serve beneficiation plants that have a total capacity to process 64 Mtpy of iron ore.
"The start-up of tailings' filtration operations in Vargem Grande is another step in stabilizing iron ore production and on the way to resume the of 400 Mtpy production capacity by the end of 2022," noted the company's statement.
All operations at the Vargem Grande complex were suspended by ANM in February 2019 to prevent occasional triggers that could affect dam stability as a result of ongoing activities at the complex.