The repair and compensation of social and environmental damage caused by the rupture of the B1 Dam in Brumadinho took important steps in the first half of this year, regardless of the R$ 37.7 billion agreement with the Government of Minas Gerais. Vale's commitment is to be ever more transparent and to constantly seek to work with active listening, addressing all the demands received. So far, around R$12 billion have been earmarked to promote the repair of social and environmental damages and to compensate people, R$6.27 billion included in the agreement.
One of the pillars of the repair is the compensation process for the individual rights of people affected in Brumadinho and territories evacuated due to dams at an emergency level. There are already more than 5.1 thousand indemnity agreements signed, between labor and civil, involving around 10.5 thousand people – which could reach 11 thousand by the end of this year. More than R$ 2 billion were invested in the respective payments. The numbers corroborate the company's commitment to indemnify fairly and quickly all those who were impacted by the collapse of the dam or evacuations.
To manage these resources, all the indemnified interested parties have at their disposal the Integral Assistance Program for the Affected People, which offers assistance and guidance for financial management and production resumption. To date, 3,300 people have participated in the training cycles.
In the health area, the Health Cycle continues to contribute to the strengthening of primary care in impacted communities. The program was expanded from 11 to 15 municipalities and reached 1,255 trained health professionals, in addition to 4.6 thousand donated equipment and 143 Basic Health Units (Unidades Básicas de Saúde - UBS) attended. Like Program for the Affected People, the Health Cycle is part of Vale's commitment to developing transformative and lasting actions that promote comprehensive repair and the well-being of those affected.
Another relevant point throughout the semester was the actions for economic development and income generation in the regions impacted by the rupture and in the evacuated territories. An example of these actions is the Project for Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Private Sector of Tourism, which concluded its consulting cycle in March, benefiting 50 enterprises in the Vale do Paraopeba. Supporting entrepreneurship and innovation is the focus of Projeto Horizonte, which trained 141 entrepreneurs from six municipalities in its first phase – 39 were selected and will have their projects accelerated as of October. In Brumadinho, 30 social organizations selected in the 2020 public notice received financial resources, qualifications and training from the Valorizar Program.
With the support of transversal and complementary projects, a new future is taking shape for Córrego do Feijão. Launched in 2019, the Territory-Park is in the phase of execution of the renovation works of the Central Square, construction of the Community Market and the Culture and Crafts Center. The six local businesses supported by the Community Social Entrepreneurship Project will operate in these spaces. The community is already preparing to manage the structures in the workshops of the Community Equipment Project.
- Environmental care
11.5 hectares have already been reforested, including part of the area directly impacted and areas for environmental regularization (Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Area). By the end of this year, the forecast is that 35 hectares of areas are already in the process of reforestation, with the planting of approximately 50,000 seedlings of species native to the region. For this work, a partnership with the Federal University of Viçosa (Universidade Federal de Viçosa - UFV) enabled the development of an unprecedented technology to accelerate recovery and reforestation through the rescue of DNA from local plants. For revegetation to take place, the first step is the removal of tailings, an important activity also to support the searches carried out by the Fire Department. With the advances of 2021, the total amount of tailings handled reached 3.5 million m³, 40% of the approximately 9 million m³ that leaked from the B1 dam.
Vale continues to monitor the water quality of the Paraopeba River and all 4 million results obtained through the analysis of more than 38,000 samples of water, soil and sediment collected since January 2019 were delivered to competent agencies, such as the Instituto Mineiro de Water Management (Instituto Mineiro de Gestão de Águas - IGAM), in addition to being audited by a specialized and independent company. In order for society as a whole to follow the evolution of this monitoring, this month the company launched a specific page on the website vale.com/repair.
- Access to water
The operational tests of the new water collection system for the Paraopeba River, in Brumadinho, started in recent days, and the water collected at an unimpacted point of the river will already reach the Copasa system, by pipe, to the Water Treatment Station River Manso. The process will be carried out in stages, starting with the pumping of water at a volume of 1,000 liters per second and will continue under evaluation by the company and the utility to increase the volume up to the maximum capacity of 5,000 liters per second, the same flow rate as the currently suspended intake. Earlier, in February, the population of Pará de Minas and the local water concessionaire also received the new Pará River pipeline, restoring the same flow that the municipality had a grant in the Paraopeba River, which brought water safety to the city.
In the Paraopeba river basin, the reliability and traceability of the work to distribute quality and quantity water that people need has been increased. Today, 62 water trucks and 100 drivers each travel 170 kilometers a day, on average, to distribute water in a 250 km stretch of the Paraopeba River, managed by an intelligent system, capable of recording each route, each delivery, each vehicle cleaning process and mapping any problems. To date, more than 1.2 billion liters of water for animal watering, irrigation, human consumption and domestic use have been delivered.
Discussions with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, Federal Public Defender's Office, National Indian Foundation and independent technical advice hired on the implementation of the complementary financial support program, in permanent replacement for emergency payment, for the remediation of impacted indigenous communities is evolving. The maintenance of indigenous health care until December 2023 and the establishment of guidelines for the realization of the health, physical and mental diagnosis and individual compensation are also the object of these negotiations. The draft amendment is being designed to formalize the negotiation, which should take place in the coming months.
- Evacuated Municipalities
In evacuated municipalities, social participation remains the focus of repair work. While priority works are advancing in the four territories - Barão de Cocais, Macacos (Nova Lima), Antônio Pereira (Ouro Preto) and Itabirito -, the Compensation and Development Plans are drawn up based on public consultations and committees, with the majority of representatives communities, to suggest and prioritize programs and initiatives of interest to residents. The actions include remodeling schools, construction and revitalization of health centers, remodeling of squares, churches and public roads, among others, and reinforce Vale's commitment to carrying out projects that allow communities to recover, as far as possible, the conditions of previous life.
Another priority is to boost economic diversification in these regions, expanding the ways in which income is generated. The Horizonte Project, implemented in March, is an important step in this direction. The project aims to create and develop innovative businesses, with an emphasis on generating positive social and environmental impacts, in addition to employment and income for the local population. A total of 141 entrepreneurs from Itabirito, Barão de Cocais, Nova Lima, Ouro Preto and Santa Bárbara were selected and 78 projects were selected to participate in a cycle of technical assistance, workshops and mentoring, which is already underway.
- Dam safety
The security of the remaining geotechnical structures of the Córrego do Feijão has been improved. Recent efforts made the Menezes II dam obtain a positive Statement of Stability Condition in the semester, being removed from level 1 of the Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams. As a result, there is currently no geotechnical structure at the alert level in the mine.
Residents of municipalities where preventive relocations took place gained more security. In Macacos (Nova Lima), the de-characterization of the B3/B4 dam entered the second phase and containment is already completed. In Antônio Pereira (Ouro Preto), the Doutor Dam, at the Timbopeba Mine, had its emergency level reduced from 2 to 1, after actions to reinforce the security of the structure, and preparations for the decharacterization are progressing.
The same happened in Barão de Cocais, where the Sul Inferior dam also had its emergency level reduced from 2 to 1 and the collection of tailings in the Sul Superior, a preliminary step to decharacterization, started after the completion and validation of the containment structure. In Itabirito, the work on the containment structure of the Forquilhas and Grupo dams has been completed, allowing the preliminary actions to be taken to remove the characterization.
The Company's Upstream Dam Decharacterization Program also advanced and, this semester, the decharacterization works of the sixth dam, the Fernandinho dam, in Nova Lima, were completed, completely reintegrated into the environment, pending evaluation by competent agencies. The program started in 2019, is based on information and technical studies and considers the specificity of each of the 30 geotechnical structures included. Its progress represents a transparent approach and, above all, focused on the safety of structures and people. Information is regularly updated at www.vale.com/esg.
For mor information, access the Repair Report