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Biodiversity

Vale recognizes the importance of biodiversity and deems it a subject intrinsic to its business, considering its richness, breadth and value in maintaining life and ecosystem services.

We protect and help to protect an area approximately 6 times larger than the area occupied by our operations, that is, approximately 8.5 thousand km² of natural areas, thus contributing to the protection of native fauna and flora species, mainly endemic and endangered ones, taking into consideration an integrated management of territories we operate.

In line with our Sustainability Policy, the following commitments stand out as the basis of our activities:

Focused on these commitments, Vale’s long-term purpose is to achieve No Net Loss¹ in biodiversity.

¹ When losses are equal to gains. There are impacts, but we take measures to prevent and minimize them in order to implement rehabilitation/ restoration and offset.

KPIs Reports

To monitor the performance of its operational impacts on biodiversity, Vale uses the GRI system indicators (GRI 304 : Biodiversity), which are reported annually by the operating units and whose results are disclosed in the Sustainability Report. Moreover, biodivesity management plans specific to some operational areas presents indicators related to programs and measures, as well as those from the GRI.

Indicators:

Indicator 1

Vale's operational areas overlap with areas of high biodiversity value, such as hotspots and wilderness areas.

Categories/Relevance Km²
Total impacted area 1.389,23
Total impacted area in Wilderness 918,04
Total impacted area in Hotspots 361,21
Impacted areas in protected areas 245,49
Impacted areas adjacent to protected areas¹ 427,21
Impacted areas in priority areas for conservation outside protected areas 108,54
Impacted areas adjacent to priority areas for conservation outside protected areas¹ 168,80

Total impacted area

Km²
1.389,23

Total impacted area in Wilderness

Km²
918,04

Total impacted area in Hotspots

Km²
361,21

Impacted areas in protected areas

Km²
245,49

Impacted areas adjacent to protected areas¹

Km²
427,21

Impacted areas in priority areas for conservation outside protected areas

Km²
108,54

Impacted areas adjacent to priority areas for conservation outside protected areas¹

Km²
168,80

¹To calculate the adjacent area, we considered the buffer of 10 km, generated from the external boundaries of the protected areas and priority areas for conservation of the surroundings, and evaluated its overlap in relation to the area of the operational unit.

Indicator 2

Protected or recovered habitats.

Units Protected by Vale or With Company Support - MM1

Protected area Location Biome Property Area (km²)
Carajás National Forest Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio¹ 3910.0
Tapirapé-Aquiri National Forest Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 1142.4
Itacaiúnas National Forest Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 1365.9
Tapirapé Biological Reserve Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 992.0
Igarapé do Gelado Environmental Protection Area Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 232.7
Carajás Ferruginous Fields National Park Brazil (Pará) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 220.0
São Luís Botanical Park Brazil (Maranhão) Amazon Rainforest Vale 1.1
Tubarão Botanic Park Brazil (Espírito Santo) Amazon Rainforest Vale 0.3
Vale Natural Reserve Brazil (Espírito Santo) Amazon Rainforest Vale 227.1
Sooretama Biological Reserve Brazil (Espírito Santo) Amazon Rainforest ICMBio 278.0
Natural Heritage Private Reserves (NHPR) in Minas Gerais’ Iron Quadrangle Brazil (Minas Gerais) Amazon Rainforest Vale 128.0
Protection area related to four small hydroelectric power stations (PCHs) Brazil (Minas Gerais) Amazon Rainforest Vale 3.3
Northern Forests Natural Reserve (Forêt Nord Nature Reserve) New Caledonia Forest and Maquis Shrubland Government of New Caledonia 2.7
Pic du Grand Kaori Reseve New Caledonia Forest and Maquis Shrubland Government of New Caledonia 3.1
Private Protected Area Mozambique - Vale 16.7
Ecological Centre Vale Malaysia (Vale Eco Centre) Malaysia Sundaland Vale 2.9
Total 8,526.19
Protected area

Carajás National Forest

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
3910.0

Tapirapé-Aquiri National Forest

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
1142.4

Itacaiúnas National Forest

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
1365.9

Tapirapé Biological Reserve

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
992.0

Igarapé do Gelado Environmental Protection Area

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
232.7

Carajás Ferruginous Fields National Park

Location
Brazil (Pará)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
220.0

São Luís Botanical Park

Location
Brazil (Maranhão)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
1.1

Tubarão Botanic Park

Location
Brazil (Espírito Santo)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
0.3

Vale Natural Reserve

Location
Brazil (Espírito Santo)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
227.1

Sooretama Biological Reserve

Location
Brazil (Espírito Santo)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
ICMBio

Area (km²)
278.0

Natural Heritage Private Reserves (NHPR) in Minas Gerais’ Iron Quadrangle

Location
Brazil (Minas Gerais)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
128.0

Protection area related to four small hydroelectric power stations (PCHs)

Location
Brazil (Minas Gerais)

Biome
Amazon Rainforest

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
3.3

Northern Forests Natural Reserve (Forêt Nord Nature Reserve)

Location
New Caledonia

Biome
Forest and Maquis Shrubland

Property
Government of New Caledonia

Area (km²)
2.7

Pic du Grand Kaori Reseve

Location
New Caledonia

Biome
Forest and Maquis Shrubland

Property
Government of New Caledonia

Area (km²)
3.1

Private Protected Area

Location
Mozambique

Biome
-

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
16.7

Ecological Centre Vale Malaysia (Vale Eco Centre)

Location
Malaysia

Biome
Sundaland

Property
Vale

Area (km²)
2.9

Total

8,526.19

¹ The Campos Ferruginosos National Park has part of its area internal to the limits of the Carajás National Forest. The value in question refers only to the area outside these limits.

Indicator 3

Amount of land (owned or leased, used for productive or extractive activities) altered or rehabilitated.

Area affected and under recovery (km²) 

9.83 km² Affected

11.80 km² Under Recovery (total)

9.92 km² Permanent

1.88 km² Temporary


Location of areas affected and under recovery (km²) - MM1 

Affected Recovering (total) Permanent Temporary
Brazil
Minas Gerais 2.77
6.77
5.50
1.27
Espírito Santo 0.03
0.40
0.40
0.00
Pará 3.79 2.40
2.40
0.00
Maranhão 0.01
0.00
0.00
0.00
Mato Grosso do Sul 0.12
0.11
0.11
0.00
Bahia 0
0.20
0.20
0.00
Internacional
Indonesia 2.26
1.42
0.81
0.61
New Caledonia 0.00
0.15
0.15
0.00
Canada 0.00
0.05
0.05
0.00
Mozambique 0.85
0.30
0.30
0.00
Brazil

Minas Gerais

Affected
2.0

Recovering (total)
6.4

Permanent
0.1

Temporary
6.3

Espírito Santo

Affected
0

Recovering (total)
0.3

Permanent
0.3

Temporary
0

Pará

Affected
2.9

Recovering (total)
3.5

Permanent
3.5

Temporary
0

Maranhão

Affected
0

Recovering (total)
0.4

Permanent
0.4

Temporary
0

Mato Grosso do Sul

Affected
0.3

Recovering (total)
0.1

Permanent
0.1

Temporary
0

Bahia

Affected
0

Recovering (total)
0.2

Permanent
0.2

Temporary
0

Internacional

Indonesia

Affected
3.5

Recovering (total)
0.9

Permanent
0.9

Temporary
0

New Caledonia

Affected
0.3

Recovering (total)
0.3

Permanent
0.3

Temporary
0

Canada

Affected
0

Recovering (total)
1.0

Permanent
1.0

Temporary
0

Mozambique

Affected
0.8

Recovering (total)
0.3

Permanent
0.3

Temporary
0

Indicator 4

Number of species included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list and domestic conservation list with habitats in areas affected by the organization's operations.

.In 2019, 4,454 species were recorded in habitats affected by Vale’s operations or close to them; 2,374 were fauna and 2,080 were flora. Out of this total, considering the main categories of threat (vulnerable, near-threatened, endangered and critically endangered), 111 are on the Brazilian Ministry of the

Table of species in lists of endangered species 

Category MMA (2014) IUCN (2018)
Least Concern (LC) 0
322
Data Deficiency (DD) 6
24
Vulnerable (VU) 50
53
Near-threatened (NT) 0
35
Endangered (EN) 47
22
Critically Endangered (CR) 14
4
Category

Least Concern (LC)

MMA (2014)
0

IUCN (2018)
322

Data Deficiency (DD)

MMA (2014)
6

IUCN (2018)
24

Vulnerable (VU)

MMA (2014)
50

IUCN (2018)
53

Near-threatened (NT)

MMA (2014)
0

IUCN (2018)
35

Endangered (EN)

MMA (2014)
47

IUCN (2018)
22

Critically Endangered (CR)

MMA (2014)
13

IUCN (2018)
2

MM2

The number and percentage of operational units that require biodiversity management plans according to stated criteria, and the number (percentage) of those units with plans in force.

In 2019, 54 operational units were analyzed regarding their need for management plans due to legal requirements and/ or the value of biodiversity. Out of this total, 46 were found to require management plans (85.2%) and 49 of the plans have already been implemented (including areas with more than one plan).

Goals and Deadlines

Vale has established a long-term goal to reach No Net Loss, focused on reducing significant biodiversity's losses. This commitment is completely aligned with the commitments made in the Sustainability Policy and with the company's sustainability strategy. To achieve this goal, we are working to implement and reinforce the entire risk, impact, attributes and performance management process.

In 2019, Vale annouced its 2030 Agenda, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Regarding biodiversity, the Agenda brings the Forestry Goal - Recover and protect 500,000 hectares of areas by 2030. This goal is also associated with the ambition to leave a positive legacy in the biomes in which we operate. This goal is also aligned and could contribute to the Brazilian commitment to recover 12 million hectares of native vegetation, as provided for in the National Policy for the Recovery of Native Vegetation.

Furthermore, the Vale's agenda also includes goals related to water and climate change that are also connected to biodiversity as they are associated with the reduction of interferences related to important ecosystem services, with the reduction of fresh water withdrawal and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Our Management

We have adopted an integrated territory management approach, incorporating and applying concepts related to the Impact Mitigation Hierarchy (HMI)¹ to achieve No Net Loss in the territories where we operate.

In the risk and impact management efforts, specific diagnoses are developed from the planning of entry into new territories to the final design of the projects, aiming to assess possible interference in areas of natural heritage, protected areas, as well as sensitive habitats and species. All expansion of operations and new projects are preceded by studies of environmental impacts in accordance with the rules and regulations of each country and region in which its operate.

In 2019, Vale developed a normative standard that provides guidelines and processes for biodiversity management focused on all stages of the life cycle, from project planning to post-closure, published in early 2020. This document brings the Hierarchy Impact Mitigation, risk management, metrics and the necessary processes so that new projects and even operations can assess and manage biodiversity risks and establish goals and actions related to No Net Loss. This normative document was prepared based on the experience acquired and results obtained during the work developed in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy and the S11D Complex Mine team, which resuts in the S11D Mine Management Plan.

¹Impact management approach which must be applied sequentially to anticipate and avoid, and where impact prevention is not possible, minimize; when impacts occur, restore; and where significant impacts remain to some extent, offset. The focus of this approach is to avoid net losses of biodiversity by mitigating risks and impacts.

ICMM commitments and strategic alignments

As a member of ICMM, Vale is committed to the principles established by the Board and in 2019 reinforced its commitment to Performance Expectation, which is focused on not operating in World Heritage Areas and on the implementation and strengthening of the impact mitigation hierarchy , with the objective of not having considerable biodiversity losses.

Biological Diversity Convention (CDB) and Biodiversity Strategic Plan

Vale always seeks to be aligned with the commitments and goals established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB). Protection and recovery of natural environments, maintenance of essential ecosystem services, reduction of  species' threats are part of these goals and are aligned with our 2030 Agenda based on the forest goal, as well as our biodiversity strategy that has the long-term objective of neutralizing impacts on biodiversity.

Impact Management

Vale follows the best methods, technologies and actions that allow the least interference in natural resources. Even so, the operations have direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity. We work with prevention, mitigation, control, recovery and compensation measures that are not restricted only to legal obligations, with the aim of incorporating the protection of components of biodiversity and ecosystem services into our activities, thus seeking, whenever possible, to implement actions volunteers focused on conservation.

Focused on improving and maximizing the results of these actions, Vale establishes partnerships with specialists in biodiversity, such as universities, governmental organizations and consultancy in search of consistent environmental studies, mitigation, recovery and compensation activities that constitute effective action plans, in addition to encourage the generation and dissemination of knowledge.

Policies and Standards

Since it is a multidisciplinary subject, Vale’s guidelines concerning biodiversity are reflected in the Sustainability Policy, with the principle of prioritizing risk and impact management, pursuing zero harm to employees and communities and leaving a positive social, economic and environmental legacy in territories where Vale operates.

In 2019, Vale developed a normative standard that provides guidelines and processes for managing biodiversity focused on all stages of the projects' life cycle.

Vision of Risks

Our operations today occupy around 1,400 km², with the main risks and direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity being associated with changes in natural environments and changes in land use, which alter the components of the physical environment, which in turn instead they function as support for the elements of the biotic environment (flora and fauna). In 2015 Vale carried out a study to map and classify the risks to biodiversity arising from our operations, from nine categories of areas and/or territories relevant to biodiversity, according to global and national organizations (KBA, Protected Areas, Wilderness Areas , Hotspots, occurrence of Endangered Species IUCN, among others) to which weights have been attributed that characterize its importance in relation to biodiversity. 

The analyzes were made considering the insertion of the operational areas in these areas and / or territories, which generated the risk note.

Out of the 33 units with operating activities (representing 97% of Vale’s total) evaluated in 14 countries, we obtained the following results:

10 units Low Risk

14 units Medium Risk

9 units High Risk

In June 2020, we established a partnership with the IBAT (Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool) to assist in risk and impact analysis in the initial phases of projects, supporting the guidelines of the normative standard focused on Biodiversity Management.

Voluntary Initiatives

Please find below the highlights of our performance in biodiversity. These initiatives reinforce our commitment and confirm that it is possible to integrate biodiversity to mining.

Biodiversity Experience Project

Implemented in 2017, the project promotes annual meetings in celebration of the International Biological Diversity day.

This project was designed for the purpose of exchanging experiences from the enrollment and submittal of papers that reflect initiatives and solutions in biodiversity, implemented and executed in all Vale’s units, stressing the importance of the subject for the company and the experiences, as well as expanding knowledge.

Vale’s Natural Reserve

Contributing to a Biodiversity Hotspot Conservation.

Vale’s Natural Reserve (RNV) is a Company’s property located in Brazil (State of Espírito Santo) which protects 23,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest, the most threatened biome of the country. This reserve works in four pillars - conservation of biological diversity and ecosystems services, scientific research, education and forest rehabilitation.

    In partnership with ICMBio, Vale supports the protection of the Sooretama Biological Reserve (Rebio), amounting to about 50,000 ha.

    The Reserve protects approximately 5,000 species of plants and animals of the Atlantic Forest, comprising more than 160 endangered species and 64 endemic species.

    It maintains one of the largest nurseries of native seedlings of the Atlantic Forest, with the capacity to produce three million seedlings per year.

    It has a world-renowned herbarium, which shares knowledge and supports research in various locations.

    In RNV there is also a space for public use intended for leisure activities and environmental education hosting courses and events related to biome research.

    The Eu Pesquisador project brings together researchers from projects developed in the Reserve to share knowledge, arouse interest and raise awareness among students and teachers of public schools in the region about the importance of Biodiversity. In 2019, 137 students and six teachers from three state schools in the municipality of Sooretama were involved. The Project had the partnership of the Municipal Departments of Education and Transport of Sooretama / ES and researchers from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), Pitágoras and Universidade Vila Velha (UVV) institutions

Vale Fund

Sustainable Development Allied with Biodiversity Conservation

Over 9 years of operation, the fund has supported 54 initiatives for conservation and sustainable use of the Amazon Rainforest, allocating approximately R$ 120 million, in three work programs: Strategic Monitoring, Protected Areas and Biodiversity, and Green Cities. It has been recognized among the TOP 10 financiers of Amazon Rainforest conservation actions, in a study by the Moore Foundation. It works in a logic of cooperation with civil society organizations, many of them national and international references in sustainability, emphasizing their reputation, field presence and effective results in the Brazilian socio-environmental agenda.

The experience accrued by the Vale Fund has shown that the conservation of the Amazon Rainforest comprises the success of an economy that values the standing forest. Thus, since 2015, the Vale Fund has been striving to strengthen its strategy to support forest-based and sustainable production chains. As of 2017, its strategy is focused on fostering a socio-environmental business ecosystem. The idea is to create a more vibrant environment of sustainable business with measurable positive impacts, as well as financial instruments that leverage forest-based and low-carbon chains.

For more information on Vale Fund, access the website

Conservation projects

Furthermore, with regard to partnerships, Vale funded conservation projects for endangered species, with emphasis on:


  • “Amigos da Jubarte” (Humpback whale) Project - in partnership with Instituto O Canal, Baleia Jubarte Institute, Vitória City Hall and Espírito Santo’s Federal University.
  • “Onça-pintada – the Competition project” (Jaguar), big cats coexistence and general health in the Atlantic Forest of Tabuleiro, developed in the Vale’s Natural Reserve (RNV) since 2005 and in partnership with UVV.
  • Study of Medium and Large Mammals endangered with the use of Drone - partnership with UFV developed at Vale's protected areas in the Iron Quadrangle region.
  • Harpia Project - partnership with UFES and INPA developed at Vale Nature Reserve.

Research and conservation projects

Since 2010, Vale has been working - from the Executive Management of Technology and Innovation - to Sustainability - in agreements and partnerships with research fostering institutions (FAPESPA, FAPESP, FAPEMIG, among others) and universities. In 2019, several projects were developed with these institutions’ support and with various universities’ partnerships, such as UFV, UFRJ, UFES and UFMG. These include projects related to environmental rehabilitation, technology applied to study of endangered mammals and ecosystem services in protected areas.

Since 2009, Vale has the Vale Technological Institute - Mining and Sustainable Development (ITV DS) in Belém, a non-profit institution for postgraduate research and education. This institution has a group of researchers dedicated to studies related to biodiversity and ecosystem services with focus on the Carajás National Forest.

The research carried out at ITV is oriented towards social and environmental issues that challenge the mining chain, primarily in the territories where Vale operates. The Institute’s agenda focuses on biodiversity, environmental services, water resources, environmental genomics, reforestation with native species, recovery of degraded areas, climate change, occupation and use of land and socioeconomics.

In addition to research, ITV is involved in training people through the professional Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Tropical Regions master’s program. So far, 85 masters have graduated, 45% of whom are Vale professionals. In 2019, ITV created the Resident Master’s Student Program with the purpose of boosting and influencing local professionals’ training on topics related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offering ten scholarships.

Throughout the year, ITV contributed a total of BRL 40 million invested in 17 research initiatives with projects that contribute to biodiversity knowledge and conservation of biodiversity, such as studies of rare and endemic plant species from ferruginous rupestrian fields, rare species of bats and invertebrates, taxonomy, phenology, genomics and propagation.

“ITV works for creating future options, through scientific researches and technology development and expand Vale’s knowledge and business frontiers in a sustainable manner.”

For more information access the ITV website

Brazilian Business Commitment to Biodiversity

In 2020, Vale joined the Brazilian Business Commitment for Biodiversity proposed by the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS). We further reinforce our commitment to invest in research, conservation, environmental recovery and dissemination of the knowledge produced in our areas https://cebds.org/ibnbio/o-compromisso/.

Zoobotanical Park of Carajás

Among the additional and voluntary actions related to the conservation of biodiversity, the Vale Zoobotanic Park (PZV), located in the National Forest of Carajás, houses a squad with 70 species of Amazonian fauna and more than 360 individuals, acting in the ex-situ conservation of endemic and endangered species. These are animals from rescues in the company's operations, in addition to apprehensions and rescues by environmental agencies.

The park works with important actions of environmental education and awareness for conservation, having received more than 90 thousand visitors in 2019, including families, schools, universities and research institutions. In addition, the PZV develops a program for the reproduction of endangered species, such as the ararajuba (Guaruba guarouba), endemic to the Brazilian Amazon and considered vulnerable to extinction. Several species' cubs have already been born in the Park and, in March 2019, three of them were reintroduced into natural areas in the city of Belém, in partnership with the Institute for Forestry and Biodiversity Development (Ideflor-bio), in the Project for the Reintroduction and Monitoring of Ararajubas in Conservation Units of RMB - Belém Mais Linda.

Vale & Biodiversity

Access here the file.

Commitments with Biodiversity Conservation

These initiatives reinforce our commitment and confirm that it is possible to integrate biodiversity to mining.

The Iron Quadrangle region

Vale’s Protected Areas: Formation of Ecological Corridors and Conservation of Endangered Species in the Iron Quadrangle.

In the Iron Quadrangle region, in Minas Gerais (Brazil) which is home to the Brazilian Savanah (Cerrado) and Atlantic Forest biome, there are approximately 68,000 hectares of protected areas as a result of Vale’s environmental offset actions and voluntary initiatives. In studies conducted so far, approximately 70 species of endangered animals and plants were identified in the area.

In 2018, the region represented 3.4 times the area of our operations in the Iron Quadrangle region. These protected spaces are established in order to create a mosaic of connectivity between legal reserves, conservation units and other protected areas, resulting in significant ecological corridors that play their role in maintaining genetic diversity.

Carajás

Implications for Licensing, Mitigation, Offset, and Conservation.

In Carajás (Brazil, State of Pará, Amazon rainforest biome), Vale helps to protect 780,000 hectares of native forests and associated natural ecosystems, with approximately 7,000 species of protected plants and animals, including 50 endangered species of animals and approximately 300 endemic animals of the Amazon Rainforest, according to studies developed up to 2018. In this area, Vale creates and helps to maintain, in partnership with ICMBio, the Carajás Ferruginous Fields National Park, which comprises over 79,000 hectares of protected forests and field vegetation. This park supports the preservation of the remaining ferruginous field vegetation in the north of Brazil and extends the protection to more than 22,000 hectares of areas connected to the Carajás National Forest.

Species recovery, restoration and conservation

Focused on the reproduction of considering rare native species of the Iron Quadrangle region of Minas Gerais, endemic and endangered species, a Biofactory is dedicated to the recovery and restoration of areas using key-species for the region's biodiversity conservation.

In 2019, more than 40 million species were selected, species such as Cattleya milleri, orchid considered "Critically Endangered", or Arthrocereus glaziovii cactus considered "Endangered", as endemic species of rupestrian fields. During the year, approximately 3,000 individuals were reintroduced into recovery restoration areas. The seedlings’ monitoring proves a high percentage of survival in the field, assisting the enrichment and restoration of habitats.

In the Tubarão Complex, in Espírito Santo, Vale developed the recovery of areas and manages 113 hectares, in addition to the recovery of another 31 hectares, in permanent preservation areas around the lagoons. The project also involved planting 8,500 seedlings of native and fruitful species from the Atlantic Forest, including endangered species. Also noteworthy is the implementation of the Executive Plan for Ecological Restoration in the Fonte Grande State Park, with the main objective of reestablishing the connection between forest fragments. Located in the central massif on the island of Vitória, the project will be responsible for recovering 33 hectares by planting 8 thousand seedlings of species from the Atlantic Forest.

Protected areas and conservation units

Vale operates within conservation units in high biodiversity value regions, always respecting the legal requirements in each category of Conservation Unit. In Carajás, for example, there are operations in the Carajás National Forest (Minas in Serra Norte and S11D) and in the Tapirapé Aquiri National Forest (Salobo). These are sustainable use conservation units, a category that allows human activities in joint development with the biodiversity conservation. In Minas Gerais, most of the operational units of the Iron Quadrangle are located within the Southern Environmental Protection Area (APA Sul, in portuguese), also in the category of conservation units for sustainable use.

In pursuit of biodiversity conservation, Vale establishes partnerships with conservation units of third parties, formalized or not, in which it invests in infrastructure, ecosystem protection (firebreaks, fences, prevention and fighting against fire and hunting), research and innovation.

Cavities and rock fields

The rupestrian fields are associated with mining deposits and suffer the greatest impacts from activities such as urban expansion, pasture areas and agriculture. In the case of the Iron Quadrangle (QF), in Minas Gerais, the project “Mapping the Phytophysiognomies of the Preserved Areas of the Iron Quadrangle”, from the Instituto Socioambiental de Viçosa, demonstrated that mining occupies about 3% of the QF area, compared to 15% of agriculture and 69% occupied by natural areas. Studies show that mining areas represent a low percentage of land use however contribute 42% of the preserved area.

In southeastern Pará, considering the total area of ​​ferruginous rock fields on the limits of the Carajás National Forest and the Ferruginous fields National Park National Park, only 5% have suffered intervention by mining activities in the last 10 years.

Created in 2017, the Ferruginous fields National Park National Park resulted from the environmental licensing of the S11D Eliezer Batista Complex, with the objective of safeguarding representative areas of ferruginous rock fields in 3,900 hectares and cavities.

The rare, endemic and/or endangered species surveys are regional, going beyond the boundaries of the company's operations and cover all available areas of rupestrian fields. This management aims to know the operation area and to map areas of occurrence of species of interest.

Main actions carried out in 2019 on the species of rupestrian fields:

Project to search for critical flora species in the Iron Quadrangle, Southeast of Pará, Vale protected areas and members of the National System of Conservation Units (SNUC).

  • Creation of a network of taxonomists from different national research institutions to monitor the botanical identification of new species.
  • Collection of seeds of the main rare, endemic and/or endangered species in Carajás, with cultivation and propagation in nurseries.
  • Training of rescue teams and nurseries on the species of interest for their respective conservation.
  • Elaboration of Germination Protocols of endemic species in rupestrian fields, to generate knowledge about them, in addition to techniques for seedling production.
  • Project to rescue and translocate lycophytes in the ferruginous rock fields of Northern Brazil, in partnership with ITVDS and UFRJ/NUPEM.

Recovery of degraded areas

Both the planning and execution of the recovery of degraded areas, RAD in Portuguese, are the responsibility of the operating units that integrate the company's mining complexes and logistical corridors (ports and railways), so that the recovery process incorporates ecological, aesthetic-landscape, socio-economic and cultural values different territories in which it operates. The corporate area, in addition to providing technical support, has the role of standardizing the technical, administrative and operational procedures applicable to RAD, in addition to promoting the collection and consolidation of the main performance indicators, with the view to support decision-making and give visibility to the theme.

In order to align the process with the Sustainability Policy, Vale established the RAD System Management Standard, whose objective is to define and standardize the general guidelines to be observed in the planning and execution of the recovery activities of degraded areas of the company nation ambit.

PRORAD

The focus of the Program for the Improvement of the Recovery of Degraded Areas (PRORAD), in 2019, was the implementation of the improvements mapped in the executed pilots in 2016 and 2017. Technical cooperation agreements were signed with regional universities to internalize the results obtained, either through training for RAD teams or in the unfolding of previous studies, aimed at attending specific cases.

The actions foreseen in PRORAD are being implemented, permeating several areas of knowledge, such as: specific fertilization of mining substrates, selection of plant species adapted to the revegetation of mined features, the monitoring of recovered mined areas and the mechanization of soil preparation in cutting slopes, among others.

Perspectives

The Biodiversity and Forest Conservation and Management has great challenges, among them is the search for new technologies to allows the implementation of increasingly sustainable projects. All this involves not only companies, but also government, university, and other research institutions’ initiatives which may work together to develop and implement these efforts.

Increasing knowledge of protected areas and improving risk analysis on biodiversity are also part of the challenges that Vale is facing - as these measures strengthen the foundations for risk analysis and impact prevention, as well as for the planning of mitigation and conservation measures. Investments in research and development actions that are already part of this strategy are a great opportunity to ensure successful outcomes for these challenges.

Furthermore, Vale is also in tune with global trends on the subject. Alignment with the global sustainability agenda, focusing mainly on the goals of the Sustainable Development Goal 15 (Earth Life), and the global biodiversity strategy, focusing on the Aichi goals, have been increasingly integrated into the strategy of company.

Business Case

The Flora of Carajás

Carajás’ ferruginous canga has been the subject of a research developed by 145 researchers from 30 institutions in the country and abroad. As a result, the Carajás region now has one of the best studied floras in the country, which contributes to its conservation. A total of 1,094 distinct species in 164 families have been identified.

One of the aspects that made the work unique was the collection of plant samples for producing genetic identifiers known as DNA bar codes through sequencing, which resulted in the production of a reference library for flora, allowing species and their evolutionary relationships to be rapidly and objectively identified.

The results also enabled the development to be developed to use of plant DNA existing in the soil, as a new molecular tool for environmental monitoring. The results of the flora research published in 169 articles in four issues of the journal Rodriguésia, from the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, and in another 10 additional works. The same approach is being applied in the study of the flora of the Amazon Forest and the cave biota.

Biodiversity, Mining and Conservation

Today, about 1 million hectares of forest, mostly in the Amazon, is protected by Vale, directly or through partnerships. We committed to recover and protect 500,000 ha by 2030. Once we do it, it will be an area greater than the Northern Ireland.

For decades Vale has been protecting the Amazon forest, while mining the largest iron ore mine in the world. Thus, the image below shows how, unfortunately, almost all the surrounding area outside the borders of the protected area have been deforested over the past 30 years, being practically intact only the area Vale helps protect.

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