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Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Community

Vale's relationships with its communities is one of the critical aspects of our business. As we are present across large, extended territories, it is essential that we have a broad and diverse connection with the communities in areas influenced by our projects. These include 32 Indigenous peoples and 41 traditional communities (40 in Brazil - mostly quilombolas and coconut-breakers, and 1 outside the country). Our goal is to create value for Indigenous peoples and traditional communities; respect their culture, way of life and the environment; and seek to create a positive legacy for these populations through actions that contribute to their ethnodevelopment.

Regardless of the local contexts where it operates, Vale follows the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) position statements and principles and rejects any discrimination or disadvantage that may be related to culture, identity or vulnerability. Vale seeks to apply these principles to groups that have the characteristics commonly found in Indigenous peoples and traditional communities.

KPIs Report

Among the main risks Vale faces are conflicts over land use with local communities, including Indigenous peoples. In 2017, 474 conflicts were registered in Brazil. Among these, almost 80% were resolved with dialogue that helped the parties involved to reach consensus.

Goals and deadlines



Vale incorporates respect for Indigenous and traditional communities in a transversal way in internal risk analysis and business feasibility processes, considering communities´ interests in its decision making.

Vale has been working to improve its management strategy with intense training of its own and third-party employees, through constant reviews of processes and the development of planning and support tools. It has maintained, renewed and created agreements with Indigenous peoples to establish and maintain solid partnerships. This is why Vale maintains an open and transparent dialogue for conflict resolution and creates programs and projects that benefit communities with whom we interact.

The Company has teams (more than 22 professionals) dedicated to social activities in the territories and to forging permanent relationships with communities, guided by policies and standards and supported by tools and specialists. To deal with the social and economic complexity of territories, Vale operates under an Integrated Management Model with the following tools:

Weekly meeting to manage routine

Panel to review financial and project progress

Stakeholder, demands and interaction system (SDI)

Panel system to monitor risks

Monthly management report

SAP Enviromental Compliance (EC)

The Company considers the following guidelines for action with Indigenous peoples and traditional communities, in reference to Sustainable Development, Human Rights policies and the Code of Conduct:

  • Establish relationships with affected Indigenous peoples;
  • Understand and respect the rights, interests and perspectives of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities;
  • Seek engagement, consult with Indigenous peoples and obtain consent for new projects;
  • Collaborate with responsible authorities to achieve consistent results;
  • Take a tolerant approach to differing opinions and remain open to testing and negotiation;
  • Consider the potential impacts of actions on the community and businesses;
  • Mitigate impact and engage in dialogue with local communities and government institutions and establish positive partnerships for both parties;
  • Establish commitments that consolidate sustainability and sociocultural diversity.

In addition, when planning projects, Vale pursues the concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which calls for negotiation in good faith between the Company and the affected Indigenous or traditional communities influenced by those projects. FPIC develops and expands the Informed Consultation and Participation process, required by the 169 International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention, ensures meaningful participation of Indigenous and traditional communities in decision making and focuses on reaching agreement.

Bill 191/2020 is being processed by the National Congress and aims to regulate conditions for conducting exploration, mineral resources mining and hydrocarbons (oil and gas), as well as the use of water resources to generate electricity in indigenous territories.

Vale for maintain relationships with diverse indigenous peoples for decades and for respecting their rights, their culture and their interests and perspectives took a stand on the Bill 191/2020 and reinforced its commitment to build and sustain a respectful relationship with indigenous peoples.

Check it out here

Policies and Procedures

Our guidelines for working with Indigenous peoples and traditional communities are built upon international commitments and reference documents related to Indigenous issues. They are based on the ICMM's position statement on Mining and Indigenous People, the 169 ILO Convention, and on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We highlight below some of the principles we follow:

If Indigenous peoples and traditional communities are in company’s area of influence specific legislation should be verified and enforced, including by promoting engagement, free, prior and informed consultation and risk impact assessments, contributing to the promotion of the ethnodevelopment of these peoples and communities.

  • International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)
  • Position Statement Mining and Indigenous Peoples (International Council on Mining and Metals – ICMM 2014)
  • ICMM’s Sustainable Development Goals (
  • United Nations Global Compact (UN)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • GRI Standard – Global Reporting Initiative (GRI 411: Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2016)
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
  • Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169 – International Labour Organization)
  • Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO, 2001). The Equator Principles, 2019 (in revision)


Vale conducts specific environmental licensing processes and risk diagnostics for Indigenous peoples and Quilombolas, conducting baseline studies and impact assessment and mitigation by specialized teams, usually coordinated by anthropologists.

In 2019, a risk management methodology was implemented in Brazil with a weekly risk-monitoring routine of allegations and lawsuits. This allowed a better understanding of the realities of the populations we interface with. Among the risks faced are land use conflicts.

We currently have relationship plans for all of Brazil's traditional peoples and communities that are influenced by Vale. They are routinely managed through the stakeholder management, grievance and critical issues (SDI in Brazil) tool, which has a specific model for managing processes related to this issue, including: voluntary social investment, diagnostics and impact studies, impact mitigation programs and projects, grievance management, and social expenditure.


For the future, the Company's main challenges will be to contribute to the autonomy of the peoples with whom we relate and to promote engagement between stakeholders such as Indigenous peoples and the government. Vale also follows closely changes in the institutional and political contexts that may influence legislation affecting Indigenous peoples.

Volunteer Actions

In Maranhão, we have a very consistent relationship with the Quilombola communities, babaçu or coconut breakers, and the Awá, Guajajara and Ka'apor Indigenous groups. As a result, Vale is in the process of obtaining licensing and making voluntary social investments in areas where these people reside. In other states, the Company is working to strengthen trust and build relationships with Indigenous tribes in Gavião; the Kayapó and Xikrin peoples in the State of Pará, the Tupiniquim and Guarani peoples in the State of Espírito Santo; and the Krenak peoples in the State of Minas Gerais.

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Human Rights

Our management is in line with the UN Guiding Principles and our work is assessed by initiatives such as the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

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