Controversies - ESG
Mining in indigenous land
Mining in indigenous land
Vale understands that mining in Indigenous Land may only take place with the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from the indigenous people themselves, and in light of a regulatory framework that contemplates the participation and autonomy of indigenous people.
Vale does not currently carry out any mineral research or mining activities in Indigenous Lands in Brazil, whether mining titles or legal expectations. Furthermore, Vale's production plan does not consider mineral resources or mineral reserves in Indigenous Lands in Brazil and, for this reason, the new Bill 191/2020, if approved, will not impact its business.
Nowadays, Vale develops activities in traditional lands in countries where there are regulations in force, such as Voisey's Bay in Canada, always with strict observance of the principles mentioned above, with emphasis on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Mining rights in indigenous land
Mining rights in indigenous land
Vale decided to relinquish its mineral rights in Indigenous Lands in Brazil, which includes applications for exploration permits and mining concessions. The company is taking the appropriate actions with the ANM (National Mining Agency) to comply with the necessary procedures.
Human rights - Pico Mine, Brazil
Pico Mine, Brazil
In February 2015, Ouro Verde Locações e Serviços S.A., which provided transportation services for finished products between Pico and Fábrica mines to Vale S.A., had their workplaces, both owned by Vale, inspected by Ministry of Labor and Employment, currently the Ministry of Economy.
After said inspection, the Ministry of Labor pointed out the non- compliance with several labor obligations related to the conditions of the locker room, cleaning, access to water, working hours, among others.
Upon learning of the notifications, Vale followed all corrective measures and subsequently terminated the contract with the transport company. It so happens that, adopting an extensive interpretation of the legislation, the Ministry of Labor and Employment considered that the outsourcing of the transport activity was illegal, under the argument that it would be considered among the main activities of the contracting company and, therefore, the employees of the carrier company should be considered Vale's employees. It is important to highlight that the service provider's employees were never deprived of the right to come and go, were properly registered and received transportation to and from their homes, in conditions superior to those provided by public transport, had their work cards signed, they did not have their documents withheld, nor indebtedness to the company; being certain that they were not kept in degrading conditions analogous to slave labor. Due to the extensive interpretation of the legislation, adopted by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, Vale was assessed for alleged irregularities committed by Ouro Verde, including the illegality of outsourcing and maintaining employees in conditions similar to slave labor. As the assessments did not match the reality of the work of those service providers, the company presented defenses and administrative appeals.
Since 2016, Vale has reinforced the work of internal groups for the identification and realization of continuous improvements in facilities and workplaces, and the improvements and their results have been monitored in meetings of leaders in the areas. In addition, the contract management area reinforced inspections on contracted service providers to verify compliance with labor criteria. These actions are in line with Vale's position of repudiation of any and all forms of disrespect for human rights and unworthy working conditions; and aim to avoid, and ensure, that cases like Ouro Verde do not reoccur.
Also in 2016, Vale filed annulment actions against the infraction notices that addressed the (i) illegality of outsourcing and (ii) the maintenance of employees in conditions similar to slavery.
Firstly, it obtained an injunction to suspend the effects of the assessments until the final decision in the judicial decisions handed down in the records of the proposed annulment actions. In December/2018, the 6th Panel of the Regional Labor Court of MG accepted Vale's appeal, to annul the tax assessment notice on illegal outsourcing and recognize the validity of hiring transport services. Since outsourcing is lawful, there is no longer any basis for drawing up the tax assessment notice due to a degrading work condition against Vale, given that it was recognized that the workers were not Vale employees.
However, despite the fact that the employment relationship between Vale and the employees of Ouro Verde Locações e Serviços S/A was removed, this fact had given rise to Vale's assessment of the degrading work conditions, the 4th Panel of the Regional Court MG's Labor Court, through a non- unanimous decision, maintained the tax assessment notice. Vale is taking the appropriate legal measures to reform it, given that it is inconsistent with the decision issued by the 6th Panel of the same court.
Indigenous Peoples - Carajás Railway, Brazil
Carajás Railroad, Brazil
The Carajás’ Railway (EFC) is 892 km long, connecting the largest open-pit iron ore mine in the world, in Carajás, in southeastern Pará, to the Port of Ponta da Madeira, in São Luís (MA). Through its tracks, 200 million tons of cargo and 350 thousand passengers are transported per year, representing the main means of transporting passengers and fuel between the states of Pará and Maranhão. Inaugurated in the 1980s, the Estrada de Ferro Carajás leads the ranking of the most efficient railroads in Brazil thanks to constant investment in technology.
In the states of Maranhão and Pará, the railroad passes in the vicinity of different traditional communities. They are indigenous peoples, quilombolas and coconut breakers. These populations are recognized for their unique relationship with the territory, which involves not only physical and socioeconomic aspects, but also cultural and spiritual ones.
Vale acts with respect for the rights of these populations, managing risks and impacts of its operations and proposing actions, in a participatory manner.
Since the 1980s, as part of the construction of the Carajás Railway, Vale has maintained a relationship with these populations, which is carried out by dedicated professionals, with indigenous training and experience, in the public, private and academic sectors.
Vale signed agreements with the Awá, Guajajara and Ka´apor indigenous peoples of the Caru, Rio Pindaré, Awá and Alto Turiaçu indigenous peoples, which have an interface with the EFC's area of influence in the state of Maranhão. These agreements support actions on territorial protection, preservation and conservation of natural resources, economic sustainability, income generation, cultural and institutional strengthening, productive activities and others that contribute to the ethnodevelopment of these communities. Fundação Nacional do Índio, a governmental entity responsible for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and which appears as an intervening party in the different instruments entered into, participated in the development and monitoring of these agreements.
Among the actions carried out by Vale, on a voluntary basis, was support provided for the construction and supply of equipment for 03 (three) Basic Health Units, in partnership with the Special Indigenous Sanitary District (DSEI) of Maranhão and BNDES - Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento (“BNDES”). The units were installed in two villages of the Awá people and a village of the Guajajara people, located in the Indigenous Territory Caru in the state of Maranhão.
The specificities of indigenous peoples are respected throughout the expansion process of the Carajás Railway (EFC) in accordance with Brazilian legislation, international principles, and Vale's internal policies. The works for the expansion of the EFC started only after the conclusion and approval of the Indigenous Component Study (ECI – Estudo do Componente Indígena in Portuguese) - carried out with the direct participation of indigenous peoples, external consultancy and through FUNAI, a complementary part of the environmental licensing process for the project expansion, conducted by IBAMA.
The Specific Studies (ECI) were conducted by independent consultancy with the participation of the indigenous peoples and addressed important adjustments to the original project, including the non-installation of construction sites with employee housing in stretches close to these communities, and the hiring indigenous workers to operate in these same stretches, thus reducing the impact in these locations.
As expected, the Basic Environmental Plan for Indigenous Component (PBA CI) is still being implemented for the Awá and Guajajara Indigenous Peoples.
In another stretch of the EFC, in the state of Pará, in the municipality of Bom Jesus do Tocantins, Vale has been in contact with the Parkatêjê, Kyikatêjê and Akrãtikatêjê Indigenous People, from the Mãe Maria Indigenous Land, since the 1980s.
Over the years, different forms of partnership and support for indigenous people have been formalized, including actions in the areas of health, education, productive activities, protection, and surveillance.
Vale has always valued the respect for these populations and keeping a permanent relationship and dialogue. In this context, it supported the elaboration of the Life Plan of the indigenous people of the Mãe Maria Indigenous Land, with a participatory methodology that promoted reflection and discussion on strategies to be adopted in order to guarantee the quality of life of these peoples and guide ongoing projects and activities.
As part of the environmental licensing process for the duplication works of the Carajás Railway, the Basic Environmental Plan for the Indigenous Component (PBA CI) is being prepared, which is conducted with the support of specialized consultancy and previously approved by the indigenous peoples. The PBA aims to propose programs to mitigate the impacts of the duplication of the EFC, in the stretch that borders the Indigenous Land. Among the programs foreseen in the PBA, we highlight those of productive activities, cultural strengthening, strengthening of indigenous organizations, territorial protection, environmental and territorial management, among others.
In the same way that the indigenous people approve the processes related to environmental licensing, they also authorize all Vale activities that may impact them. This occurs in line with the Company commitments laid out in its Global Human Rights Policy, which is aligned with the main international requirements related to indigenous rights - such as FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent).
With the quilombola communities of Maranhão, the Quilombola Component Study (ECQ) was prepared in a participatory manner and with the monitoring of the competent governmental authorities, which included the territorial, socioeconomic, and cultural characterization of the communities located at a distance of up to 1km from the EFC. The studies made it possible to identify and assess the potential impacts of the railway duplication works and to propose the Basic Environmental Plan Quilombola Component (PBACQ) to mitigate the potential impacts of these works.
These programs involve a set of territorial protection and management actions, communication, environmental education, cultural and institutional strengthening. Committees were established according to the social organization and policies of these communities, which plan the execution, monitor and evaluate the actions developed, considering the objectives, expected results and related indicators of each program. The PBACQ was developed and is being carried out in a participatory manner, guaranteeing the listening of quilombola communities and the possibilities of monitoring actions, evaluating their results and planning activities for each year of work.
Despite pending the authorization to carry out the PBACQ in 07 of the 15 quilombola communities with which we have a relationship, due to questionings from the DPU (Federal Public Defender Office) within the scope of the EFC licensing process, Vale remains engaged with them. Several projects were implemented, including support for productive activities, cultural heritage, health and infrastructure, such as installation of a water supply system, fish farming projects, agro-industries and agro-ecological programs. Vale reiterates its commitment to comply with the determinations in the environmental legislation and requested the release of the seven communities so that it can also carry out the actions provided for in the PBACQ. The company awaits the response of the competent bodies.
The respect for the way of life of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities is guided by Vale's Global Human Rights Policy. The Policy is aligned with the main international standards related to the theme and guides the work of the professionals responsible for the relationship with these populations. Vale believes in supporting ethno-development and in respectful, mutually beneficial, and long-term relationships.
Indigenous Peoples - Onça Puma Nickel Mine, Brazil
Onça Puma Nickel Mine, Brazil
Vale does not carry out mineral research or mining activities of any kind on indigenous lands in Brazil, strictly respects current legislation, and the company is committed to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) with indigenous communities. Vale further declares that mineral resources or mineral reserves in indigenous lands in Brazil are not being considered in its current production plan.
Vale's relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities is guided by its Vale’s Global Human Rights Policy, which is aligned with the leading international references related to the theme, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Equator Principles, the Position of International Council on Mining and Metals Positioning on Mining and Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization, the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard No. 07, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the legislation provided for in the countries where Vale operates. Please access our commitment, management, and targets here for further information.
Regarding the legal proceedings involving the Xikrin do Cateté people and Vale, negotiations were held with this community under the supervision of the Federal Prosecutors (MPF) and, following a comprehensive dialogue process, an agreement was entered into in December 2021, validated by the judges of the Federal Courts of Redenção and Marabá, in the public civil actions related to the Onça Puma, S11D and Salobo projects. With respect to the Kayapó indigenous community, part of the Onça Puma Class Action (ACP), in October 2022, the agreement celebrated with Kayapós Indigenous People was ratify by Brazilian authorities.
This Agreement establishes payments for investments in structuring projects and funding for the villages and provides for extinguishing the legal proceedings related to it. The Agreement also foresees the establishment of a fund for future generations, to be defined between the indigenous people and the Federal Prosecutors (MPF) through a revision of the Adjustment Term of Conduct (TAC), currently maintained by the office with the indigenous people.
Concerning the environmental contamination allegations of the Cateté River resulting from the Onça Puma project, these were proven to be unfounded, as evidenced in reports prepared by experts from the VCF-Redenção court.
It is important to highlight that the Itacaiúnas Hydrographic Basin, which encompasses the Cateté river, its streams, and contributors, is located in a geological region with a natural presence of metals, such as iron, nickel, copper, among others, and therefore, such metals are inherent characteristics of the region’s soil, occurring in volumes naturally higher than those estimated in the parameters of the legislation. The information was recorded and confirmed in the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) and the Environmental Impact Report (RIMA), prepared in 2004, which subsidized the project's license. The preparation of such documents used the monitoring data from the systematic monitoring points of the Onça Puma operational unit for surface water located in the Cateté River channel between 2003 and 2005, taken as a quality reference, for comparison between possible interferences on the characteristics of the waters, before and after the start of the enterprise implementation and operation of the unit.
In addition, Vale has a systematic monitoring program for surface water and effluent quality, which has a historical series from 2008 to the present day. It is important to emphasize that the past data and the historical series of monitoring supported the background study carried out through the statistical analysis of these results, being formally recognized by the environmental licensing agency.
It is important to clarify that Vale has been in the Amazon for over 40 years, helping to protect, in partnership with the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), about 800 thousand hectares of forest, in the Carajás Mosaic, an area equivalent to five times the city of São Paulo, which represents a stock of 490 million tons of carbon equivalent and the largest area of continuous forest in the south and southeast regions of Pará.
The importance of the partnership with ICMBio can be evidenced through satellite images over time that demonstrates the evolution of land use and occupation and shows that the landscape of forested areas in the region is restricted to the conservation units in which Vale works together with the environmental organ and the Xikrin do Cateté Indigenous Land.
Vale remains fully committed to ensuring efficient management of the environmental control systems of its projects, as well as being imbued with the purpose of strengthening its relationship with Indigenous Peoples, maintaining a structured and transparent dialogue and supporting initiatives focused on specific rights, such as health, education, culture, territorial protection and ethno-development, to improve the quality of life of these peoples.
In this sense, in 2021, Vale's Social Ambition for 2030 was released: "To be a partner company in the development of resilient communities, engaged in issues relevant to humanity and committed to sustainable mining."
Among the commitments made is to support the Indigenous Peoples neighboring its operations in the elaboration and execution of their plans in search of the rights foreseen in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Piquiá de Baixo, Maranhão State, Brazil
Piquiá de Baixo
Maranhão State, Brazil
Regarding the community of Piquiá de Baixo, located in the Chemical Industrial Park of Açailândia, in the state of Maranhão/Brazil, where there are allegations of pollution caused by steel mills installed for over 30 years, Vale informs that it does not have any steel mill dedicated to the production of pig iron in Açailândia and participates in the pig iron production chain in the locality, through the supply of iron ore. Vale seeks to strictly comply with environmental standards, controls and monitoring in all its operations.
Despite the impact generated by pig iron producers has no direct relationship with Vale, the company is maintaining a permanent dialogue with all stakeholders interested in the issue of Piquiá de Baixo and acting through the Vale Foundation on the subject, in order to contribute to a sustainable joint solution in favor of the community and the territory that it belongs to.
Thus, Vale has carried out initiatives such as the elaboration of a socioeconomic diagnosis of families located in the community and the formalization of a partnership between the Vale Foundation and the Piquiá Community Association with Banco Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA), with the objective of promoting the construction of 312 houses destined to community resettlement. This action was part of Vale Foundation Urban Quality Seal Program, which aimed to support housing projects of social interest, within the scope of the “Minha Casa, Minha Vida Program”, with financial complementation per housing unit, as in the case discussed here.
Due to the contingency of federal resources, the works of the “Minha Casa, Minha Vida Program”, to which the construction of the new neighborhood is linked, were impacted, leading the Vale Foundation to mediate with CAIXA, the unlocking of the Foundation's resources and respective release for the Association to continue the works. In addition to this initiative, still in 2020, Vale contributed with R$ 315 thousand in favor of the Association for assistance in the maintenance of the construction site during the shutdown imposed by the pandemic of COVID-19.
As for the report issued by the International Federation of Human Rights - FIDH pointing out socio-environmental issues in the Piquiá region, corroborated by the Justice on Tracks movement, and after a visit by members of Vale's Sustainability Committee to the site, the pig iron producers have carried out actions to deal issues referred to in the report, and Vale has been following the evolution of these actions, such as the shutdown of operations at a pig iron production plant close to the community of Piquiá de Baixo, ratifying Vale's commitment to be part of the solution and maintain the engagement with the community.
Dust Emissions, State of Espírito Santo, Brazil
State of Espírito Santo, Brazil
Tubarão Port, in the municipality of Vitória, Espírito Santo, is an iron ore port and a coal dock, which imports coal and exports iron ore from the Minas Gerais Iron Quadrangle, as well as steel to ArcelorMittal's operations in Brazil. A police investigation conducted in January 2014 revealed that Vale's operations at the Tubarão Port had resulted in the release of dust in its surrounding bodies of water and air.
The municipal government of Vitória subsequently penalized Vale and ArcelorMittal with US$ 8.35 million each, as well as demanding that both companies repair any damage resulting from the dust release. The companies appealed the fine.
In May 2018, Vale and ArcelorMittal received a study made by the São Paulo State Environmental Company of São Paulo (Cetesb) containing over 190 targets to reduce pollution based on an agreement signed by the companies and the local regulators until 2023.
Vale operates and continually invests in environmental control systems. The entire productive system of the Tubarão Complex - from the arrival of the ore to the shipment - has the latest environmental control technology. By 2023, Vale will have invested approximately R$ 1 billion in environmental control measures in its operations at the Tubarão Complex, adding the amounts invested in recent years.
With regard to health, Vale informs that it monitors the health effects of its employees related to the exposure to the iron ore present in the workplace environment. It emphasizes that there are no records of current employees, or retirees, with health problems, or who have been removed from work, due to exposure to iron ore at the Tubarão Complex.
It is noteworthy that, according to a Social Security report, there have been no records of respiratory diseases related to the exposure to iron ore in Vale employees in Brazil.
Samarco, Fundão Dam, Brazil
Fundão Dam, Mariana, Brazil
The mining tailings dam of Fundão, owned by Samarco Mineração S.A., collapsed in November 2015 in the Bento Rodrigues sub-district, 35 km from the center of the Brazilian municipality of Mariana, Minas Gerais.
Vale and BHP Billiton each hold 50% of Samarco mining company’s shares. As a shareholder, Vale has always emphasized the importance of implementing policies and standards in line with its own and has supported Samarco in its efforts to recover the damage caused by the Fundão Dam breach in the State of Minas Gerais.
From the first day of the breach, Vale and its employees committed to responding to the emergency and, shortly thereafter, to the remediation of human rights and environmental recovery.
After the signing of a Conduct Adjustment Transaction Term (TTAC) between Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton, with the Federal Government and the governments of the States of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo and their autarchies, the Renova Foundation, an institution responsible for conducting the repair, restoration and socio-economic and socio-environmental recovery programs in the areas impacted by the Fundão dam failure, was created. This term was later ammended by the Conduct Adjustment Term, TAC -Governance.
It is important to note that the TTAC instituted the Interfederative Committee (CIF), a collegiate system that brings together representatives of public bodies and society, led by Ibama and the Ministry of the Environment, which works as an independent entity, external from the Renova Foundation, with the function of guiding, monitoring and supervising the execution of the remediation measures provided for in the TTAC. The CIF also has eleven Technical Chambers, which are consultative bodies, created to assist it, in specific matters, for the performance of its purpose.
By establishing an organization dedicated exclusively to the reparation process, such as Renova Foundation, a robust governance model was also created, with the participation of dozens of entities. Since June 2018, with the signing of the TAC Governança, the Renova Foundation, its sponsors - Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton - and the ministries and public defenders at the federal level and in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, there has been an increase in participation of the affected people in the decision-making processes of reparation, improving the model of collective construction of solutions, and giving the affected communities the opportunity, with the right to vote, to participate effectively in decisions on the reparation process.
TAC Governança established the creation of regional chambers and local commissions, which are being organized to represent the affected communities. Representatives of these chambers and commissions are part of the Interfederative Committee, the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board of the Renova Foundation. Since the creation of the Renova Foundation, its activities have been monitored by the Public Ministry of Foundations of Minas Gerais, which oversees the fulfillment of the objectives and the functioning of this model of reparation, hitherto unprecedented in Brazil.
Internally, the Foundation's Board of Trustees is empowered to approve the plans, programs and projects proposed by the Executive Board of the Renova Foundation, in accordance with its bylaws, which were also approved by the Public Ministry. The Advisory Board, with positions for the participation of representatives of the affected communities, basin committees, Ibama and academic institutions, has the ability to represent society within the Renova Foundation, and its role is to give an opinion on plans, programs and projects, in addition to indicating solution proposals for damage caused by the dam failure. Internal governance also has a Fiscal Council, Independent Audit, and Compliance and independent Ombudsman areas. Vale, observing the governance structure created, has always supported Samarco and Fundação Renova in all necessary areas and has been guaranteeing funding and the implementation of more than 40 programs that were established in the agreement with the federal and state governments, together with the mining company BHP Billiton.
Vale also implemented an area dedicated to geotechnics, with the purpose of evaluating and improving the company’s dam management processes, with action plans and goals. The company also revised its emergency plans, including clarifications on evacuation and mobilizing the surrounding community on how to act in the event of an accident. All remediation and recovery actions taken by Samarco and, now, by the Renova Foundation are in line with national and international standards and best practices, in addition to the National and State Dam Safety Policy.
More information about the reparation process conducted by the Renova Foundation may be accessed on the webpage: https://www.fundacaorenova.org/.
Belo Monte, Brazil
In June 2011, Vale became a shareholder of Norte Energia S.A. (Norte Energia), holding company of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP), by acquiring a 9% stake. At that time, the concession contract had already been signed with the Brazilian authorities. In March 2015, Vale sold 49% of its stake in Norte Energia to CEMIG. Currently, Vale holds an indirect stake of 4.59% in Norte Energia's capital.
Since the auction notice for the Hydroelectric Power Plant in Belo Monte, launched in 2009, the project has been intensely debated by society. The current configuration of the enterprise reduced the area that would have been flooded by 58% of the original proposal to avoid affecting indigenous lands.
The use of approximately 100 km of unevenness of Volta Grande do Xingu was then widely studied and debated, resulting in the Water Availability Reserve Declaration - National Water Agency (ANA - Agência Nacional das Águas, in Portuguese) Resolution no. 740, of 10/06/2009 and in conditions of the Preliminary License (LP) IBAMA (Portuguese acronym for Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) no. 342/2010, of 02/01/2010, which dictates the rules relating to the hydrogram and navigability, with emphasis on the test period of 06 (six) years after installation of the full generation capacity of the Main Powerhouse is completed, which occurred in November 2019.
There is a robust monitoring plan, with identification of the resulting impacts, which has been implemented, configured by the Integrated Management Plan of Volta Grande do Xingu, consolidated in 2011 when the Basic Environmental Project – PBA was presented, then composed of 05 (five) subprograms such as the Navigability and Living Conditions Monitoring Program, in addition to the Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystem Conservation Plans and the Water Resources Management Plan.
The Social monitoring forum of the Belo Monte HPP (FASBM, Fórum de Acompanhamento Social da Usina Hidrelética de Belo Monte, in Portuguese) was implemented in 2011 as well, with a joint board formed by various local and regional stakeholders, with periodic meetings. According to information provided by Norte Energia, meetings, participative workshops, or technical visits are held with representatives from the communities, where civil society, local municipalities, IBAMA, and other interested parties participate. By 2020, 29 (twenty-nine) FASBM meetings had been held, which also has other participatory instances, the thematic commissions, with 174 (one hundred and seventy-four) meetings having been held of specific thematic commissions and committees, totaling 4,949 participations, among them Volta Grande do Xingu commission – CVGX (Comissão da Volta Grande do Xingu, in Portuguese) and Fisheries and aquaculture commission – CPA (Comissão da Pesca e Aquicultura).
The Belo Monte HPP meets all the requirements of the Environmental Licensing process, through the Environmental Impact Study (EIA/RIMA), one of the most complex and extensive in Brazil, with teams from IBAMA dedicated to analyzing the documents, participating in meetings in the region and in regular inspections. By 2020, 17 (seventeen) consolidated reports on the execution of environmental programs were presented, which were widely presented and debated in technical seminars, inspections and meetings with environmental agencies and the local population, through FASBM commissions, as well as other specific participatory initiatives for execution of the PBA.
The Belo Monte HPP also complies with the requirements of the Equator Principles, and specifically Principle 9: Independent Monitoring and Reporting, Norte Energia has an Independent Social and Environmental Monitoring Report for the Belo Monte HPP Project, prepared regularly by JGP (Independent Socio-environmental Consultant - CSI).
In May 2021, Norte Energia presented its annual report for 2020 based on the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative - GRI, in compliance with a rigorous process of mapping material issues and organizing information.
Therefore, given the strict environmental licensing process, extensive monitoring, development of constant participatory processes and independent monitoring, it is demonstrated that all socio-environmental measures have been observed, and the foreseen and generated impacts have been mitigated, compensated and monitored as well, in compliance with legal requirements and those agreed upon with society.
Since 2013, quarterly reports have been presented for analysis by an independent socio-environmental auditing company, which investigates the venture's socio-environmental regularity, among other aspects, in compliance with the contractual obligation assumed in the BNDES (Portuguese acronym for the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development) Financing Agreement (Clause 13, Item i, subitems "a" and “b”).
Corruption, Republic of Guinea
Republic of Guinea
Considered to be one of the best unexploited iron ore deposits in the world, Simandou was acquired by Vale in April 2010 as part of a joint venture with BSG Resources Limited (“BSGR”). At the time, the project was announced as a major impetus for the company’s faster growth in iron ore production.
Prior to entering into the joint venture with BSGR, Vale conducted a thorough and in-depth due diligence, with support from internationally renowned companies and law firms, to understand how BSGR obtained its mining concessions and to assure itself that BSGR had not engaged in any corruption activities in that regard. BSGR repeatedly attested and assured Vale that BSGR had lawfully obtained its mining rights in Guinea and followed proper procedures in obtaining its rights. Vale diligently requested, prior to the formation of the joint venture, personal anti-corruption declarations from representatives of BSGR, including Mr. Benjamin Steinmetz, which were duly submitted.
Vale paid BSGR an initial purchase price of US$ 500 million, and invested over US$ 700 million more in developing the mining concession, principally in Zogota.
In October 2012, the new Guinean government began investigating the manner in which BSGR obtained its rights.
At the same time, in 2013, investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI resulted in the arrest of a BSGR intermediate who had attempted to bribe the wife of Guinea's late dictator to destroy evidence of his relationship with BSGR.
The new Guinea government's investigation concluded that BSGR had obtained the rights to Simandou through corruption and bribery of Guinean officials. In April 2014, the Guinean government revoked the mining concessions after determining that BSGR had engaged in bribery and corruption. The Guinean government explicitly concluded that Vale had played no role in any of BSGR’s corrupt activities. In March 2015, Vale transferred the interest of the mining joint venture stake in Guinea back to the partner company BSGR.
In April 2014, Vale instituted an arbitration against BSGR before the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”) seeking to recover over US$ 1 billion in damages Vale suffered due to BSGR’s fraud in inducing Vale through false statements and representations to invest in the joint venture and develop mining rights in Guinea that, unknown to Vale at the time, BSGR had obtained through bribery and corruption. On April 4, 2019, an arbitral tribunal of the LCIA issued an award against BSGR, awarding Vale more than US$ 1.2 billion in damages (with interest, correction and expenses the value totals more than US$ 2.0 billion). Vale promptly commenced proceedings to enforce its award against BSGR in the High Court of Justice of England and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The award was recognized in both the United Kingdom and the United States in judgments that are final and not subject to appeal.
On January 22, 2021 a Swiss Court convicted Beny Steinmetz on criminal charges of bribery and forgery in connection with his company BSGR procurement of valuable mining rights in Simandou. Two Steinmetz’s associates were also found guilty, one was found guilty of bribery and forgery and the other of bribery. The court sentenced Steinmetz to 5 years of imprisonment and ordered forfeiture of CHF 50 million. The decision of the Swiss Court to hold Steinmetz personally accountable for his corrupt acts follows the April 2019 award of the London Court of International Arbitration, which found that BSGR defrauded Vale by concealing its bribery and corruption from Vale in order to secure Vale’s investment in Simandou and awarded Vale more than US$2 billion in damages. That award was subsequently confirmed by courts in the United States and England, the latter of which described BSGR’s appeal as “hopeless”.
Vale continues to pursue collection from BSGR and Steinmetz personally, including through litigation in the High Court in London, which has entered a worldwide freezing order on the assets of Steinmetz, his foundation and other defendants.
Vale is confident that the Brazilian authorities will likewise not be misled by Steinmetz’s continued efforts to shift blame and attention away from his corrupt acts.
Leak in Sudbury, Canada
The Sudbury Basin in Canada contains one of the most important mining fields in the world, producing hundreds of millions of tons of copper and nickel per year. This location is also the center of Vale’s operations in Ontario.
Two miners died at Vale's Stobie Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, on June 8, 2011, after an uncontrolled emission of material (muck). Vale was not criminally charged as a result of this incident, but received charges under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, and pleaded guilty to three counts.
Following Vale's internal investigation into this incident, an action plan, including more than 40 recommendations, was implemented to address the contributing factors and to improve the control measures to protect the health and safety of its employees. These recommendations included actions in the fields of water management, operational controls, hazard identification and risk assessment, among others. These actions and their recommendations are intended to prevent similar issues in Vale operations.
Leak in Copper Cliff, Canada
Copper Cliff, Canada
Vale’s mining operations in the Sudbury Basin include mines, a mill, a smelter and a nickel refinery; collectively, these assets constitute one of the largest integrated mining operations in the Americas.
During the planned maintenance period of Vale’s smelter complex at Copper Cliff, in August 2015, as a result of the standard procedure for washing and draining the acid plant, there was a release of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide (NOx) mist during a standard procedure to wash Vale’s Acid Plant and to drain it. At the time, a yellow plume was visible above the Vale complex, but the levels that were registered during the event were very low and dissipated.
Emergency measures were activated as a precaution and the emergency siren was activated to notify residents from the region. The release was contained and there were no injuries or impacts on production. Since this event, the procedures to clean the acid plant have been adjusted to prevent a similar incident from happening.
For the implementation of the Carvão Moatize Mine, whose operation began in 2011, it was necessary to carry out a plan for the resettlement of families residing in the areas concessioned to Vale. Following international standards and governmental guidelines and decisions on the subject, this plan began in 2006 and had broad community engagement and formal approvals from different levels of government and traditional leadership. The relocation was completed in 2010, with 1,365 families in two resettlements distributed in areas provided by the local government - in the locality of Cateme with rural characteristics, and in 25 de Setembro, with urban characteristics, and 107 families distributed in the village of Moatize on an assisted indemnity basis.
In May 2012, the international organization Human Rights Watch conducted an assessment in Tete province, Mozambique, in the resettlements related to mining activities, including Vale's coal operation. Based on Human Rights Watch's findings and recommendations, Vale and the Government of Mozambique signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with a commitment to address these recommendations and other demands from the communities.
Since then, Vale has been working continuously on improvements in resettlements and is committed to the development of actions to support families, together with several stakeholders, through the implementation of a listening and response mechanism with these communities and other stakeholders engagement through our Stakeholder Engagement Program (PES), with the objective of reestablishing the living conditions of these families and supporting local development by promoting sustainable activities. Since 2012, about 80% of the actions agreed in the MOU have been implemented, and in an assessment approved by the community and local governments.
This agreement was made possible through a partnership between Vale, local governments and the community and brought important improvements to both resettlements, focusing on the following actions:
- Rehabilitation of the water supply systems.
- Construction of paved access roads, bridges and revitalization of roads.
- Expansion of access to public transport.
- Expansion of the electricity supply capacity.
- Training of teachers from primary and secondary schools.
- Acquisition of ambulances, construction of a pregnant woman's waiting room and a pharmacy at the Cateme Health Center.
- Construction of a football stadium and market on 25 September.
- Income Generation Programs in poultry, agriculture, training, goat farming, among others.
Such investments have made Vale resettlements a center of attraction for families willing to have access to public services more easily, such as a health center, primary and secondary schools and a police station, in addition to a water and energy network.
In the socioeconomic studies conducted by Vale in both resettlements, improvements were detected in the following indicators:
- Education: Increase in the population's level of education, with higher levels of around 50% compared to the average of the other neighborhoods in Moatize. The presence of a secondary school led to the migration of families to Cateme.
- Health: improved access to health services (distance traveled to the nearest Health Center - average of 2.2 km for 100% of resettled people, much higher than the average for other neighborhoods) and greater access to specialties.
- Sanitation: construction of improved latrines in 100% of residences in both resettlements vs 30% of the average of the other neighborhoods in Moatize. Construction of fountains, boreholes and water home connection, to be connected by the families.
- Energy: improvement of the access to the electricity network, to be connected by the families.
Currently, Vale has made countless efforts to improve living conditions in both resettlements, with the implementation of numerous integrated projects aimed at the needs raised by the most different stakeholders, namely:
- Janitorial Project of Cateme and 25 de Setembro, with repair of house pathologies, capacity building in civil construction and building maintenance.
- Issuance of titles for agricultural land and residences in Cateme and 25 de Setembro.
- Rehabilitation and increase in the capacity of the Cateme water system.
- Expanded mobility with the subsidy for the purchase of bikes for all resettled families, in addition to the purchase of buses for the Cateme Moatize transport.
- Income generation projects focused on poultry for 120 families and agriculture for 712 families, with the purchase of part of the production by the Vale workers' restaurant in Moatize.
- Local labor absorption program, with training and creation of a CV database connected to Vale and its suppliers.
- Rehabilitation of several public infrastructures, such as primary and secondary schools, police station and health center in Cateme.
- Rehabilitation of roads, sidewalks and construction of bicycle paths.
- Construction of a Support Center for Victims of Domestic Violence in Cateme.
- Distribution of School Supplies - Primary and Secondary Schools - for all schools in Moatize - about 17,000 students.
- Girl Empowerment: Distribution of Hygienic Kits and Awareness Workshops against School Evasion.
In view of the above, Vale demonstrates its commitment to increase programs and projects to minimize the impacts of the expansion of the activities of the Moatize Coal Mine.
In 2010, as part of the undertaking and with the objective of connecting the Moatize Coal Mine to the market to make the world-class business viable, Vale revitalized 682 km of railways in the Nacala Corridor and built new railway extensions totaling 230 km, crossing Malawi and reach the deep-water sea port built by the company in Nacala-a-Velha, off the coast of Mozambique.
The installation of the Nacala Corridor generated the need to carry out the involuntary displacement of 15,500 families, mostly in impacts on subsistence by agriculture and 1,600 removals of houses, which followed the standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC, Performance Standard 5) for its execution, which has been assessed by an independent social and environmental auditors (IESC) through several site visits and desktop monitoring activities since 2017.
In addition to the public consultation and an extensive stakeholder engagement program, the creation of a Livelihood Restoration Program in Mozambique and Malawi stands out, with a focus on agriculture, fishing, training/entrepreneurship, reaching around 80 % of impacted families.
In agriculture, considered one of the largest agriculture development programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, we provide support in inputs and technical assistance to about 12,000 Mozambican and Malawian families, with a constant increase in productivity, access to markets and identified success stories, as well as increased market access food availability, thus guaranteeing food and nutritional security for families and income generation in cash crops. In addition, to ensure the resettlement of land for resettled families, the Nacala Corridor is issuing agriculture land titles to resettled families in the form of production blocks, thus facilitating technical assistance and marketing on a scale by the producers.
The Fishing Program, developed for families indirectly impacted by the construction and operation of the Nacala Port, currently benefits more than 500 families, with the formation of fishermen's associations, technical training, supply of equipment, income diversification and inclusion of women in several economic activities through microcredit and savings programs.
The Capacity Building Program serves hundreds of non-rural families without access to agricultural land, training professionals in areas focused on formal and self-employment, in addition to entrepreneur support kits, containing important tools for the establishment of individual or group businesses.
In terms of voluntary investment, the Nacala Corridor formalized an agreement with the World Food Program to supply daily school meals to 28,000 primary school students in 03 districts covered by the railroad, reducing school dropout rates for boys and girls and promoting commercialization. agricultural products produced by the beneficiary families of the livelihood restoration initiatives.
Run over Reduction Plan, Mozambique
Run over Reduction Plan
Run over Reduction Plan
The run over reduction plan in the Nacala Corridor has shown significant results in recent years, based on a series of actions implemented to ensure greater safety for the communities and the operation, which resulted in a 46% run over decrease between 2019 and 2020, and 96% between 2020 and 2021, and consequently, the THP (Train Stoppage Hour) rate, which greatly impacts communities mobility.
Among the implemented actions are:
- Social monitors: the Nacala Corridor hired 320 monitors who work both in Malawi and Mozambique, 24-hour and 7 days a week, with an anticipation control and warning system for the trains approaching in the community, allowing the social monitor to position themselves at critical points, avoiding accidents and collisions.
- Mobility infrastructure: construction of 17 footbridges, 152 level crossings and 30 safe crossings by 2021, with others being implemented and planned.
- Railway Safety Campaigns: permanent implementation of railway safety campaigns such as hiring sound cars for campaigns in the communities, behavior dialogues in strategic points as bars, schools, restaurants, cinemas in the community, radio spots, among others.
The run over decrease in the Nacala Corridor aligns the operation with international safety standards and creates a greater perception of risk by the community and a healthy, open and transparent relationship between the company and its various stakeholders.
Emission of Particulate Matter, Mozambique
Emission of particulate matter
Vale seeks to prevent and mitigate the potential emission of particulate matter emission in its operations through performance evaluation. The company initiatives are based on the requirements of its operational licenses and voluntary actions.
Vale has a particulate emission study and inventory, carried out by a specialized company, which identifies and classifies the relevance of each source. Based on these studies, we plan actions and resources to create and maintain controls, monitoring and specific management systems. In this sense, since 2018, US$ 18 million have been invested in the implementation and revitalization of environmental controls for particulate matter.
Air Quality Monitoring
In Mozambique, Vale maintains an Air Quality Monitoring Stations Grid, a pioneering initiative in the country, which online monitors the region’s air quality. The grid is comprised by four stations that are technically positioned in the city of Moatize, two of which even have meteorological analyzers for better interpretation of atmospheric phenomena. The data is quarterly reported to the environmental agencies.
Mitigate efforts for particulate emission
An important mitigation initiative for emissions is the implementation of a process for wetting roads with water and suppressants polymer and sprinkling in mining fronts, stockyards and secondary roads, reducing the potential particulate emission and wind transportation. Vale Mozambique has acquired tanker trucks with a capacity of up to 85,000 liters to carry out this process on roads, and other smaller trucks are also used in smaller locations.
The operation adopts fixed sprinkler systems in the coal stockyards, in the primary and tertiary crusher, and in the transfer towers in the coal processing plants. During the process of loading coal onto wagons, a fixed sprinkler system is used with the addition of suppressant polymers, which are intended to create a film on the cargo, avoiding emissions from wind dragging during transport to the Nacala port terminal.
Vale also carries out visual monitoring of particulates, with a monitors team based in strategic locations and following a specific procedure, prepared aligned with technical recommendations in force, interrelating with the operation's management to take immediate action in the event of a critical emission, ranging from mitigation at the source to operational shutdown. This team is also responsible for verifying the functionality and efficiency regarding the environmental controls.
Finally, and also as part of the ongoing dialogue with the communities, Vale monitors environmental sensitivity in the communities, using social agents who conduct interviews with residents to measure their sensitivity to the dust, noise, and vibration coming from the Mine.
Natural conditions in the Tete region
Importantly, air quality is the result of complex interactions, involving the emission of air pollutants by fixed and mobile, local and remote, natural and anthropogenic sources, which together with meteorological conditions and topography characteristics, determine the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere, influencing the air quality of the Moatize region.
In this sense, the monitoring of air quality in the village of Moatize comprises all emissions beyond Vale's operations, i.e. from other industries, the precarious conditions of urban infrastructure, fires and the use of charcoal as an energy source by the inhabitants, as well as the adverse climatic conditions of the region, such as dry weather, high temperatures, deciduous vegetation (all leaves fall), sandy soils and strong winds.