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Waste

Our production process generates mineral and non-mineral wastes. We maintain a waste management program focused on minimization, segregation, traceability, valuation and proper disposal, in addition to encouraging the generation of jobs and income from recycling practices.

The mining and processing activities generate waste called as waste or tailings. These mining wastes have a different management process and are currently disposed of in structures called piles and dams. See more information about dams control and management.

In what concerns non-mineral waste, an efficient management is of great importance to Vale, since it enables us to minimize the environmental impact generated by our activities. This way, our Waste Management Program focuses on the performance of three main fronts:

KPIs Report

In 2019, 698 thousand tons of waste were generated, of which 46.8 thousand tons can be classified as hazardous and 651.2 thousand tons as non-hazardous. From the total generated waste, 52% of the waste was sustainably destined through reprocessing, recycling and reuse.

Disposal and Destination

(Total of 698 thousand tons GRI 306-2)
Disposição e Destinação

Performance Evolution

 Vale generated approximately  698,000 tons of waste in 2019, a 5.6% increase when compared to 2018. About 6.7% of these wastes are classified as hazardous. 

For mining and metallurgical residues in 2019, Vale generated 625.9 million tons.

Generation of non-mineral waste

(in thousand tons) GRI 306-2

Geração de Resíduos não minerais

Vale destined 681.97 thousand tons of non-mineral waste in 2019, of which 52% had a sustainable destination, through reprocessing, recycling and reuse:

Global Disposal and Destination

(in thousand tons) GRI 306-2

Geração de Disposição


Total mineral and metallurgical waste
(In million tons)
Total mineral and metallurgical waste

Goals

Vale Unit Indicator / KPI
Malasya Reduction of generation of hazardous waste
Procurement Increase of sustainable waste disposal, excluding metal waste
EFVM Reduction of waste without sustainable disposal
South / Southeast Ports Reduction of non-sustainable waste disposal
Salobo Reduction of the generation of waste with non-sustainable disposal
Onça Puma Reduction of the generation of hazardous waste with non-sustainable disposal

Malasya

Vale Unit
Malasya
Indicator / KPI
Reduction of generation of hazardous waste

Supplies

Vale Unit
Supplies
Indicator / KPI
Increase of sustainable waste disposal, excluding metal waste

EFVM

Vale Unit
EFVM
Indicator / KPI
Reduction of waste without sustainable disposal

South / Southeast Ports

Vale Unit
South / Southeast Ports
Indicator / KPI
Reduction of non-sustainable waste disposal

Salobo

Vale Unit
Salobo
Indicator / KPI
Reduction of the generation of waste with non-sustainable disposal

Onça Puma

Vale Unit
Onça Puma
Indicator / KPI
Reduction of the generation of hazardous waste with non-sustainable disposal

Our Management

Vale has an environmental technology area that develops projects for the waste recovery with the operational areas. Each operational unit must unfold and adapted its waste management to its local reality and culture, seeking specific goals to meet its priorities and considering the Vale Waste Management Plan.

The programs targets are mainly focused on two indicators: reduction of generation and increase of sustainable destination, such as composting, reuse, re-refining and recycling, valuing the use and seeking to reduce the disposal of waste in landfills, in compliance with SDG 12 -Responsible Consumption and Production.


Risks Overview

As a way to control the destination of waste in Brazil, Vale created the Waste Recipient Audits Program, in which all companies that receive waste from Vale Brazil undergo an environmental assessment and auditing process within a maximum period of three years. During 2019, 61 audits were carried out, for a total of 265 companies actively registered.

Business Case

Wood waste energy use from the Carajás Mine

The Carajás Mine, through a project in partnership with a local company, sought to use wood waste energy to reduce the final disposal in landfills, besides supporting the activities of a local furniture cooperative. The result was the reuse of 220 tons of wood waste during 2018, with potential for expansion in the coming years.

PCBs Destination

Vale has also developed actions to speed up the destination of waste with polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, in all its operational units, and thus anticipate the goals of the Stockholm Convention for eliminating such materials by 2025, besides ensuring their adequate final disposal by 2028. PCBs are considered environmental contaminants that impact health and ecosystems. In 2018, 150 tons of PCB waste were disposed of in Brazil, including transformer equipment and used oils.

Heavy Recycling Vale

Initiative stirs up the chain that turns waste into social, environmental and economic gains, by recycling 9 thousand tons of tires per year. The waste originated from unserviceable trucks is wholly reused. The scrap metal is converted into construction material, such as rebar. Tires are returned as lagging rubber sheets or are turned into rubber chips. The tire recycling companies set up near Vale’s operations, stimulating the local development.

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