Vale, as shareholder of Samarco along with BHP Billiton, has taken action to guarantee the safety of the people affected by the accident that occurred at the Fundão tailings dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais State, on November 5. Find out more about the actions the company has taken:
- Support for those affected by the accident
Samarco has reported that 100% of the families in Mariana and Barra Longa impacted by the accident are staying in rented accommodation or with family. After visiting the accommodation available, the families chose the place that they liked the most and signed the terms of agreement with Samarco. All of the properties rented by the company have been equipped with furniture, home appliances, utensils and bed sheets, with preference given to local suppliers, and have been stocked up with food, cleaning and personal hygiene products and drinking water.
In November, Samarco started to deliver financial assistance cards to the families impacted by the accident at the dam. By March 15, 525 cards had been delivered to the community and 3,594 to those living along the river. These will continue to be delivered as more registrations are validated, until all eligible families have been assisted.
On March 2, Vale, Samarco and BHP Billiton signed an agreement with the federal government and the Minas Gerais Espírito Santo state authorities in order to accelerate social, environmental and economic measures for the regions impacted by the collapse of the Fundão dam. The agreement defines the creation of a private fund that will be responsible for the execution of around 40 reparations programs. Find out more.
Regular meetings are being held with communities, local authorities, the state and federal government, environmental agencies, the public prosecution office, the public defence office and other relevant bodies. The objective of these meetings is to provide information on the actions Samarco is implementing and to develop joint actions. Information Points have also been installed in Colatina, Linhares, Marilândia and Baixo Guandu, in Espírito Santo State, and in Mariana and Barra Longa, in Minas Gerais State. The aim of these is to centralize the community’s demands, doubts and complaints, facilitating the services provided and the monitoring of solutions.
- Jobs and income
Samarco has provided emergency financial assistance cards for the families that lost their source of income as a result of the accident. This assistance includes a monthly payment of one minimum wage for each family, with an additional 20% for each dependent and a payment to cover essential food items of R$338.61 (the value for Minas Gerais State provided by Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies). Over 800 people affected in Mariana and Barra Longa (both in Minas Gerais) have had their professional profiles surveyed by the Occupation, Work and Income team, one of Samarco’s fronts of activity. In Mariana, Barra Longa and the surrounding region, 225 residents were referred in December and January for new opportunities in the labour market. In addition, around 30 young people from the communities of Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu (Minas Gerais) registered for the Minas Gerais Federal Institute (IFMG) selection process for technical courses with integrated high school classes in the areas of industrial automation, administration, metallurgy and construction. The aim of this is to reintegrate these people with their previous occupations, re-establish their working conditions or provide them with new productive activities according to the professional profile and interest of each individual. In the same municipalities, Samarco and its partner companies are contracting residents to refurbish buildings, install fencing, regenerate rural properties, plant vegetation, organize donations and care for rescued animals.
Vale has performed a detailed verification of the structural conditions of all of its dams. No alterations were detected during these inspections. Our dams are monitored by instruments that provide readings on their structural behaviour. The data is analyzed by geotechnical engineers, who regularly evaluate if the readings are in accordance with normal operational conditions.
Samarco has been monitoring the behaviour of the cloudy plume currently situated in the sea and has explained that the tailings held in the dam were not toxic. They are mostly made up of silica (sand), which is produced during the processing of iron ore, and do not contain any chemical element that is harmful to health. The results of the analyses that Samarco requested from SGSGeosol Laboratórios, a company specialized in environmental and geochemical soil analysis, confirm that the tailings from the Fundão dam do not present any danger to people or the environment. Samples were collected on November 8 close to Bento Rodrigues, Monsenhor Horta, Pedras, Barretos and Barra Longa, in Minas Gerais, and analyzed according to Brazilian Norm 10,004:2004.
The cloudy plume originating from the mouth of the River Doce has not reached the Arquipélago de Abrolhos, in the south of the state of Bahia. Laboratory tests of water sampled in Abrolhos indicate an absence of iron oxide, one of the elements that would have come from the plume in the River Doce. The quality of the water collected over different days has also shown that the parameters are within the limits defined by the National Council for the Environment (CONAMA) as level 1 (salt water), and no abnormalities were detected. As well as the evidence provided by the tests, daily monitoring performed by Samarco in the two states indicates that the cloudy water found at the beaches in the north of Espírito Santo and the south of Bahia are within normal parameters, making the presence of a plume in the region of Abrolhos improbable.
- River Doce
Diagnostics performed by a specialist consultancy company confirm that there are still fish and shoals along the River Doce. The study, carried out from December 3 – 11, 2015, included 215 points along the watercourse. It also revealed that the area of the river basin affected by the accident is less than 1%. Read more here.
The results of new analyses performed by the National Geological Service (CRPM) and the National Water Agency (ANA) published on December 15, 2015, verify that the quality of the water of the River Doce is compatible with results obtained before the cloudy plume. Tests also confirm that after adequate treatment to meet drinkability standards defined by the Ministry of Health (Ordinance 2,914), the water may be consumed by the local population without providing any risk to health. Regarding the presence of heavy metals dissolved in the water, levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, copper and zinc, among others, are generally similar to those obtained from a CPRM survey in 2010.
Samarco is dedicating itself to the recuperation of the colour and the cloudiness of the river along the entire affected area. It is expected that this work will be concluded in three years, according to specialists. Samarco commits to leave the River Doce in better conditions than those registered before the accident. The recuperation work includes measures such as the cleaning of the Candonga Reservoir, the replacement of vegetation on the margins of the Gualaxo, Carmo and Doce rivers and the mapping of life in the River Doce using a sonar.