Waste Management

Relatório de Sustentabilidade

Waste Management

Vale's commitment to environmental and social issues is also reflected in the way it manages waste in its production processes.

In 2012 we invested approximately US$281.5 million in dams, dikes and waste rock piles in order to manage mineral waste, making it our largest category of environmental investment (27%). We seek to optimize processes through a range of initiatives. One of them, for example, involves recovering and reusing these materials for use in other industrial processes, such as the production of cement and ceramics.

We are also working to implement the best options for recycling, reusing and properly disposing of non-mineral waste. In 2012, we launched our first set of global instructions about the subject and invested US$57 million in the management of non-mineral waste.


  • More sustainable railways

    More sustainable railways

    An innovative solution can generate sustainable benefits for Vale's railways. In 2012, the company completed testing of three sizes of plastic railway ties.

    The new technology will replace ties made of other materials, since the plastic ones are completely recyclable, lighter than concrete and steel ones, and up to five times as durable as wooden ones.

  • Waste transformed into products

    Waste transformed into products

    One of Vale Fertilizantes's main by-products is phosphogypsum, generated in the process of obtaining phosphoric acid, a raw material used in fertilizer production. The company is seeking to develop internal policies to foster the reuse and sale of phosphogypsum, transforming what was supposed to be waste into a by-product of the process. Vale Fertilizantes supplies phosphogypsum as agricultural gypsum (a source of secondary macro-nutrients for plants and a means of soil correction) and also as an additive for cement.

2012 Sustainability Report