Vale Makes Progress in Construction Works and Projects Related to Social and Environmental Recovery as well as Development in Brumadinho

About Vale


Vale Makes Progress in Construction Works and Projects Related to Social and Environmental Recovery as well as Development in Brumadinho

Vale has been taking prompt and thorough measures to repair the damage caused by (B1) dam breach at Córrego do Feijão mine, in Brumadinho (Minas Gerais), focusing on assistance for those affected, environmental recovery, and measures to improve safety of operations, including de-characterization of its upstream structures. The actions aim not only to recover Brumadinho and the affected cities along Paraopeba river, but also to develop them socially, environmentally and economically.

After eight months, the company is providing emergency payments for more 107,000 people and offering housing, water, food, medicines, medical and psychological assistance, clothing, transportation, as well as social and economic development projects for the communities. The company has also provided affected cities and state government institutions with financial support for animal care, tailings removal, dam de-characterization, and urban infrastructure improvement.

To structure its work, Vale created the Special Executive Board for Recovery and Development, which reports directly to the company's CEO. The whole structure consists of more than 400 employees dedicated to ensuring close assistance to communities through open dialogue and actions on four recovery areas (social, environmental, construction works, and safety).

Full Support and Assistance for those Affected

In addition to financial support, Vale also provided medical, psychological and social assistance, addressing more than 12,000 cases; affected people and residents of the recovering regions have been reallocated in temporary housing paid by the company. By September 22, almost 382 million liters of water for human, animal and agricultural use had been distributed.

Besides protection for those affected, Vale is supporting the development of affected cities. Full Assistance Program for Affected People guides residents of the region in planning for the future, also providing financial education; support and consultancy services for purchase of residential, rural, or commercial properties; rural and administrative technical assistance; and training courses to resume and strengthen commercial or service activities.

Vale is collaborating with social institutions in humanitarian aid workshops, in Brumadinho, and affected districts to strengthen the collective and productive potential of communities and help population to resume their routines and regain their self-esteem.

Indemnities and Donations

The company has provided a financial safety net for families to initiate negotiations on individual indemnities. 107,000 residents of Brumadinho and those living within 1km from Paraopeba river channel are receiving monthly emergency compensation, guaranteed for a period of one year.

Previously, Vale provided humanitarian financial support – in the form of donation – amounting to R$100 thousand for representatives of the deceased or uncontactable people. A R$50 thousand donation has also been provided for each family who lived in the Self-Rescue Zone of the Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams (PAEBM, Plano de Ação de Emergência de Barragens de Mineração), while those who do not live in the Self-Rescue Zone but developed rural or commercial activities received R$15 thousand.

Furthermore, the company is committed to expedite the signing of individual indemnity agreements, by family or labor group.

Support for Municipalities and Institutions

Vale provided R$80 million as financial compensation to Brumadinho after the shutdown of the company's activities, while maintaining the amounts generated by the Financial Compensation for Mineral exploration (CFEM, Compensação Financeira pela Exploração Mineral). R$14.5 million were also invested in an advertising campaign to encourage tourism in the city, in addition to investments in equipment purchase, emergency hiring of multidisciplinary health professionals, and transfer of funds to the Health and Social Assistance services of Brumadinho, which added up to R$32.6 million.

To address assistance for other cities affected by shutdown of the company's activities, Vale signed an agreement with the Minas Gerais and Brazilian Mining Municipalities Association (Amig, Associação de Municípios Mineradores de Minas Gerais e do Brasil) that resulted in two contributions of R$100 million.

In recognition of the work carried out by the Military Fire Brigade of Minas Gerais in Brumadinho, Vale established a R$20 million contribution for equipment purchase, structural improvement, and professional training for the fire unit. Investments in Civil Defense will add up to R$5 million, while the agreement signed with Military Police amounts R$4 million. Furthermore, Vale allocated R$6.5 million for the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment for the Forensic Medical Institute (IML, Instituto Médico Legal) of Belo Horizonte to streamline the identification of victims and to refurbish the Institute.

Monitoring of Paraopeba River

As a measure established on January, Vale continues monitoring quality of the water of Paraopeba river. The company analyzed almost three million water based on 393 parameters. Currently, there are 67 water quality monitoring points along 2.6km from Ferro-Carvão stream to São Francisco river mouth, including the main tributaries of Paraopeba river.

Analyses carried out by Vale and the Water Management Institute of Minas Gerais (IGAM, Instituto Mineiro de Gestão das Águas) point out that sediments have not reached São Francisco river. Since the end of March, mercury and lead levels detected by IGAM in Paraopeba river are within the legal limits. Then, water withdrawal from Paraopeba river remains prohibited as a preventive measure.

Recovery of the Water Supply System

Vale will invest almost R$450 million in a series of construction works on water withdrawal and supply systems for the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte. According to an agreement signed with the Prosecution Office of Minas Gerais, with the participation of Copasa (Sanitation Company pf Minas Gerais), the state of Minas Gerais, and the Federal Prosecution Office, Vale will carry out the following investments: – Construction of a new water withdrawal system in Paraopeba river, upstream of the confluence of the river and Ferro-Carvão stream in Brumadinho; – Implementation of preventive measures related to water withdrawal from Rio das Velhas; – Hiring of an external audit company to analyze the projects and monitor the water volume stored in reservoirs of the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte.

Containment and Removal of Tailings

Three large containment structures (two hydraulic filtration barriers and a dike) and 24 small stabilizing barriers have been installed between B1 and the confluence of Ferro-Carvão stream and Paraopeba river. The purpose of these interventions is to retain sediment flow into Paraopeba river. Construction works are in progress and shall be complete by the end of this year.

In addition to these structures, a curtain of metal piles was installed near the confluence of Ferro-Carvão stream and Paraopeba river. This measure allowed cleaning of the river stretch where the major concentration of sediments is located. And, since May 27, the solid flow into Paraopeba river was stopped.

To complement recovery of Paraopeba river, a River Water Treatment Plant (ETAF, Estação de Tratamento de Água Fluvial) was set up near the confluence of Ferro-Carvão stream and Paraopeba river. From May 9, when operations started, until the beginning of September, ETAF returned to Paraopeba river 1.5 billion liters of clean water in accordance with the legal standards defined by the National Council for the Environment (Conama, Conselho Nacional de Meio Ambiente).

All structures can be decommissioned; that is, they can be disassembled from the moment they are no longer required for stabilization of the affected areas.

Since mid-May, Vale has been dredging tailings from the affected stretch of Paraopeba river. This process is essential for recovery of the river. Dredging removes the tailings from the silted area of the river. The material removed is stored and dehydrated in large bags (geotextile bags). The water drained from these bags is pumped to a treatment plant and returned clean to Paraopeba river. Dredging activities are planned to continue until 2020, beginning at the confluence of Ferro-Carvão stream and Paraopeba river, and extending almost 2km downstream.

Since the breach of B1 dam, Vale and the Fire Service have been working together in the planning and implementation of tailings removal activities.

To support the tailings removal activities, Vale built a 3.6km access road where the old rail branch of Córrego do Feijão mine operated. The road is already in use and it is exclusive for construction works vehicles, especially those used for tailings handling. The road goes from the bridge over Alberto Flores avenue to the mine. With such action, the traffic of heavy vehicles has been significantly reduced on local roads, improving road flow, safety, and comfort for the communities.

Infrastructure for Communities

Vale is conducting a series of construction works to streamline the recovery of damage. These actions were defined and improved through dialogue with the communities and relevant authorities. The most recent construction work is the walkway on the new bridge over Alberto Flores avenue, in Brumadinho, inaugurated on September 23. The structure enables safe crossing over the bed of Ferro-Carvão stream, since the walkway is separate from the traffic lane.

Other construction works already delivered include the bridge over Alberto Flores avenue and Nossa Senhora das Dores church, located in Córrego do Feijão, and a new access road connecting Córrego do Feijão community to the central area of Brumadinho. The 3.5km-long road is being paved, as the roads that will provide Córrego do Feijão with mobility and will restore traffic safety.

Dam Safety and De-Characterization

Vale invested R$7.1 billion to de-characterize its dams raised with the upstream construction method. In September, more than three thousand workers were involved in the containment works, which are expected to be complete by 2020.

Measures taken to eliminate risks at Vargem Grande dam of Abóboras mine, in Nova Lima (Minas Gerais), have helped to change dam’s emergency level from 2 to 1, since June 4. This change is the result of several improvements made by Vale, including lowering the water level of the reservoir; cleaning of drainage channels, and sensitivity studies with the auditing company to assess how lowering the water level can affect stability of the dam.

Decommissioning is the process of ending use of a dam permanently. After the construction works are complete, the remaining structure is fully stable and reincorporated into the relief and the environment. The projects were filed with the State Department of Environment and Sustainable Development (SEMAD, Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável) of Minas Gerais, the State Prosecution Office, and Brazil’s National Mining Agency (ANM, Agência Nacional de Mineração).

Animal Care

As part of the Fauna Protection Plan, Vale initiated reintegration of wild animals into their natural habitats, providing all required care. The company also returned domestic animals to their owners and held an adoption event for dogs and cats rescued in Brumadinho. Among the wild animals, 16 have been carefully reinserted in nature, and another 17 of 11 different species are being treated at the Veterinary Field Hospital or at the Fauna Shelter Farm (FAF, Fazenda Abrigo de Fauna). Among the domestic animals, 127 have already been returned to their owners or adopted at fairs held by Vale – all neutered, vaccinated and dewormed.

All rescue and care for the animals affected in Brumadinho and surroundings is being carried out by more 229 professionals, including veterinarians, biologists, zoo technicians, and professionals from several environment-related fields. Animals in need of treatment are sent to the Veterinary Field Hospital. The structure comprises a surgical area, hospitalization wards, diagnostic imaging room (with X-ray and ultrasound), laboratory, etc. Healthy animals are accommodated in the Fauna Shelter Farm. The site rented by Vale has facilities to receive both domestic and wild animals, including ambulatory care center, pharmacy, kennel, cattery, corral, chicken coops, and lake for ducks. The sites are inspected by the Brazilian Environmental Institute (IBAMA) and the Regional Council of Veterinary Medicine.

Vale Makes Progress in Construction Works and Projects Related to Social and Environmental Recovery as well as Development in Brumadinho