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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:

To know and monitor biodiversity in territories where we operate;
To manage risks and impacts by adopting prevention, mitigation/control, offset and monitoring measures;
To promote transparency regarding practices and performance with stakeholders;
To build a positive legacy in territories we operate;
To contribute in achievement of global and national biodiversity goals.

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:

Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas.
Protected or recovered habitats.
Amount of land (owned or leased,used for productive or extractive activities) altered or rehabilitated.
Total number of species included in the IUCN Red List and in the domestic preservation list with habitats in areas affected by operations of the company, detailed by level of risk of extinction.

Indicator 1

Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas.

66.5% of our operation are in areas classified as wilderness areas and 25.6% are located in “hotspots” ( high biodiversity value area located outside protected areas), distributed in 11 ecoregions.

Our total operating areas are distributed, in detail, as follows:

8.0% or 110.5 km² in areas of high biodiversity index outside protected areas

14.2% or 194.4 km² adjacent¹ to areas of high biodiversity index

35.5% or 487.3 km² near legally protected areas

14.5% or 199.8 km² in legally protected areas (sustainable use conservation units that allow mining activity)

¹ To calculate the adjacent area, a buffer of 10 km was considered, generated from the external limits of protected areas and high biodiversity index (environment) and evaluated its overlap in relation to the area of the operational unit. Territories related to Indigenous lands were not considered in the analyses.

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 220.0¹
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 8,526.2
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)
220.0¹

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

8,526.2

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.

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

Area affected and under recovery (km²)

9.8 km² Affected

12.8 km² Under Recovery (total)

6.5 km² Permanent

6.3 km² Temporary

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

Affected Recovering (total) Permanent Temporary
Brazil
Minas Gerais 2.0 6.4 0.1 6.3
Espírito Santo 0 0.3 0.3 0
Pará 2.9 3.5 3.5 0
Maranhão 0 0.4 0.4 0
Mato Grosso do Sul 0.3 0.1 0.1 0
Internacional
Indonesia 3.5 0.9 0.9 0
New Caledonia 0.3 0.3 0.3 0
Canada 0 1.0 1.0 0
Mozambique 0.8 0.3 0.3 0
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

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 2018, the sum of the species recorded in the areas directly affected nearby Vale’s operations and in protected areas was 5,021 species; 2,701 of fauna and 2,320 of flora. 100 of these is considered to be on the domestic list of endangered species (Ministry of the Environment) and 67 on the international list (International Union for Conservation of Nature “IUCN”), according to the table below.

Table of species in lists of endangered species

Category MMA IUCN
Vulnerable 50 46
Endangered 37 19
Critically endangered 13 2
Category

Vulnerable

MMA
50

IUCN
46

Endangered

MMA
37

IUCN
19

Critically endangered

MMA
13

IUCN
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.

46% of Vale’s operational areas need, for compliance with legal requirements, a Biodiversity Management Plan, and in 91% of them, the plans are in force.

Performance Evolution

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

Areas affected and under recovery (km²) - GRI 304-3

2016 2017 2018
Affected 17.3 13.0 9.8
Under recovery (total) 19.4 13.7 12.8
Permanent 14.9 8.6 6.5
Temporary 4.5 5.1 6.3

Affected

2016
17.3

2017
13.0

2018
9.8

Under recovery (total)

2016
19.4

2017
13.7

2018
12.8

Permanent

2016
14.9

2017
8.6

2018
6.5

Temporary

2016
4.5

2017
5.1

2018
6.3

Opening and closing balance (km²) - MM1

2016 2017 2018
Affected Areas (opening balance) 620.8 628.0 631.2
Affected Areas in the Year of Reference 13.9 10.8 9.8
Areas in Permanent Recovery in the Year of Reference 6.7 7.6 6.1
Affected Areas (closing balance) 628.0 631.2 625.6

Affected Areas (opening balance)

2016
620.8

2017
628.0

2018
631.2

Affected Areas in the Year of Reference

2016
13.9

2017
10.8

2018
9.8

Areas in Permanent Recovery in the Year of Reference

2016
6.7

2017
7.6

2018
6.1

Affected Areas (closing balance)

2016
628.0

2017
631.2

2018
625.6

Goals and Deadlines

Vale announced in December 2018 the goal of recovering 100 thousand ha of degraded areas by 2030.

This goal is related to the Brazilian commitment to recover 12 million ha of native vegetation, provided for in the National Policy for Native Vegetation Recovery, in order to boost the environmental regularization of Brazilian rural properties through the recovery of permanent preservation areas (APP) and legal reserve, as well as degraded areas with low productivity.

Furthermore, Vale has also assumed water and climate change goals 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 and, in the particular case of biodiversity, we have been incorporating and applying concepts related to the Impact Mitigation Hierarchy (HMI)¹ to achieve No Net Loss or Net Positive Impact¹ in territories where Vale operates, with special focus on its natural attributes.

To achieve the “No Net Loss” in biodiversity, the company’s strategy is based on risk and impact management, management of relevant environmental attributes of the territory and continuous improvement of biodiversity performance with the support of risk analysis and information management tools. In 2018, we strive for greater alignment with the 2011-2020 Global Biodiversity Strategic Plan of the Biological Diversity Convention, increasingly integrating the subject to our business and company decisions.

In risk and impact management efforts, we have developed specific studies from the planning of entry into new territories to final design of our projects in order to assess sensitive habitats and species.

In this context, we have worked in recent years to improve biodiversity management plans in the territories where we operate and in our operations. Since 2017, we have been relying on the partnership with The Biodiversity Consultance to develop guidelines for biodiversity management.

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

One of ICMM commitments, and its associated companies, is to not exploit or undermine World Heritage Areas. In 2019, with the release of ICMM Performance Expectations, Vale is committed into aligning with PE 7, which entails, in addition to its commitment not to operate in World Heritage areas, the assessment and management of risks and impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services, by implementing the impact mitigation hierarchy with the ambition of not having significant biodiversity losses.

Biological Diversity Convention (CDB) and Biodiversity Strategic Plan

Vale aims at always being in line with commitments and targets set out by the Biological Diversity Convention (CBD) and the Biodiversity Strategic Plan, contributing to achieve the Aichi Goals.

Impact Management

Vale’s activities envolve, in many cases, the suppression or change of natural habitats. However, the company tries to limit them to situations when it is strictly necessary, with the lowest possible intensity and through the implementation of prevention, mitigation, control, recovery and offset measures that are not restricted to legal obligation, with the purpose of incorporating the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services components to its activities, thus striving, whenever possible, to implement voluntary offset and additionality actions.

We aim at acting based on the impact mitigation hierarchy approach, working with specific studies, from planning the entry into new territories to the final design of our projects.

Our impact management and research initiatives also involve the rehabilitation of areas with the purpose of restoring previously existing native habitats and recovering important ecosystem services. Since 2010, we have been working closely with our partners and making partnerships with research institutions and universities.

In 2018, we continued the implementation of research projects, with an investment of over US$ 5 million.

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.

Vision of Risks

Our operations cover 1,4 thousand km². The main direct and indirect risks and impacts are associated with our changes to natural environments and our land use that modifies components of the physical environment, which in turn work as support for the elements of the biotic environment (flora and fauna). From the total, 56% is dedicated to ore extraction, industrial production, processing, beneficiation and product transportation, and 44% to industrial plantations.

To classify the biodiversity risks derived from our operations, evaluation criteria were established by weighting specific parameters. In all, nine categories of areas and/or relevant territories to biodiversity were considered, according to global and domestic organizations, to which weights were assigned caracterizing their importance with regard to biodiversity. The calculations were made considering the insertion of operational areas in these areas and /or territories, which generates the risk score.

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

It is concluded that most of Vale’s operational areas are located in areas and/or territories relevant to biodiversity, which deserve greater attention or prioritization regarding their management and, therefore, more efforts in this direction. This analysis has been refined and the results support definitions and improvements in biodiversity management in operations.

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.

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:

  • “Ararinha-azul na Natureza” (Spix's Macaw) Project - partnership between BirdLife International and Save Brasil with Vale’s support.
  • “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.

Research & Development

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.

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

Access the ITV website

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.

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

Today, about 1 million hectares of forest, mostly in the Amazon, is protected by Vale, directly or through partnerships. We intend to reforest 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 protected by Vale.

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