Tanca

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Photographer: Vale's Archive
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Photographer: Vale's Archive

Our priority is to carry out actions aimed at recovering the area impacted by the collapse of Dam B1, in Brumadinho.

It is our duty and our priority to carry out actions aimed at the environmental recovery of the entire area affected by the collapse of Dam B1, in Brumadinho. 

It is Vale's duty and priority to carry out actions aimed at the environmental reparation of the entire area impacted by the collapse of Dam B1 in Brumadinho. 


On this page you can find all of the environmental remediation initiatives carried out by Vale. 

Environmental recovery is divided into five fronts:

Preservation of local flora and fauna; 
Removal of tailings on land and in the river, allocating them to safe and controlled areas; 
Containment of tailings, preventing them from reaching the river during rainy periods; 
Monitoring and restoration of water and soil quality; 
Human and ecological health risk assessment studies.
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Water quality monitoring 

 

Since January 2019, Vale has been carrying out water quality monitoring work in the Paraopeba River basin, its tributaries, as well as stretches of the São Francisco River, although the latter were not affected by the B1 Dam failure. 

In addition to the monthly monitoring carried out by the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute (Igam), the quality of the waters of the Paraopeba River and its tributaries is monitored by Vale, respecting the commitment assumed with the responsible public bodies. All this work is accompanied  by an independent technical and environmental audit, appointed by the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG). 

The data obtained by the monitoring works are  eriodically delivered to Organs inspection bodies and to the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais. 

In order for you to better understand all the information on this page, we have produced a glossary. Click here

Want summary information to access and share? Click here to download the booklet 

Discover all the monitoring points that exist today 

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How is monitoring done? 

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Ícone representando duas gotas de água um tubo de ensaio Ícone representando três tubos de ensaio Ícone representando um recipiente com água e uma régua medindo a profundidade Ícone representando uma lupa e algumas moléculas ao fundo

Based on the results, what can we say?

  • The tailings have been retained in the reservoir behind the Retiro Baixo Hydroelectric Dam in Pompéu, Minas Gerais, and have not reached the São Francisco River;
     
  • The water in the reservoir behind the Três Marias Hydroelectric Dam is not contaminated, as demonstrated by the environmental agencies’ studies;
     
  • Trace metal deviations have fallen progressively during dry periods.
     
  • Statistical tests point to a significant improving trend in water quality in terms of total manganese in the dry season.
Photographer: Vale’s Archive 
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A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.

Metal concentration

Since January 2019, a complete list of metals has been analyzed in water and sediment samples from the Paraopeba River, main tributaries and also in points in the reservoirs of the Retiro Baixo and Três Marias Hydroelectric Power Plants.

The presence of metals in water can also be associated with the dissolution of compost from the soil, and the contents of these metals are directly related to the geological composition of the places where water bodies are inserted or discharge of industrial effluents and other human activities.

How to interpret maps

To verify the quality condition of the Paraopeba river stretches, a comparison is made of the monthly maximum result of each parameter with the maximum of the seasonal periods obtained before the disruption by Igam monitoring.

The result of this comparison with the pre-disruption period (called baseline) is graphically represented by colors, ranging from the best result (blue) to the worst (red), as follows:

pre-breakup condition
worst condition
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Dissolved iron

Total manganese

The Paraopeba river basin crosses the region known as the Iron Quadrangle of Minas Gerais, and records of naturally high concentrations of iron and manganese in the waters are common, even above the quality standards, even in the historical series of data from Igam before the break.

In the monitoring carried out by Vale,   significant results of these metals were identified in stretches more impacted by the input of tailings, with attenuation as we move away from the region where the Ferro-Carvão stream meets the Paraopeba river. The contents of manganese and iron, in total form, show an increase in the rainy season and a reduction in the dry season, and the current condition indicates that the water quality is in a transition phase, with a progressive reduction in concentrations.
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Dissolved aluminum


The analysis of aluminum metal has shown significant concentration levels, which may be associated with the tailings. However, specifically in the stretch of the Paraopeba River after the municipality of Maravilhas, it is observed that natural geological factors influence the increase in the concentration of this element.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.

Trace metals

Other metals can also be found in water in much smaller amounts and sporadically, they are called "trace metals". Some analytical results pointed to isolated occurrences of pronounced concentrations for trace metals.

However, for these elements, which are also present in the tailings, the data analyzed currently show that the levels in the Paraopeba River are similar or even lower than those recorded in public databases for the pre-rupture period.

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Turbidity

Turbidity is a basic parameter for assessing water quality, easily influenced by rainfall and related to the transparency and quantity of suspended particles

The presence of suspended solid materials such as clay, organic and inorganic matter, microscopic organisms and algae cause water turbidity.

The origins of these materials can be diverse:

  • River bottom sediments;
  • Soils on the banks and in areas with suppression of vegetation;
  • Mining;
  • Sand removal or clay exploration;
  • Industrial waste;
  • Domestic sewage.

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A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.

A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.

Understand the difference in water behaviour in the rainy x dry season

Climatic aspects have a relevant influence on water quality. During rainy periods, the water tends to become more turbid, mainly due to the carrying of materials from the banks and the resuspension of sediments from the bottom of the river. On the other hand, in periods of drought (drought), the rivers present reduced flow, low flow velocity and less resuspension of sediments, resulting in better measurements of some parameters.

Regarding the Paraopeba River, we can say that, in periods of drought, the water quality approaches the conditions prior to the break.

Joint analysis of “dissolved iron,” “total manganese” and “turbidity” parameters, in general, shows a reduction in maximum concentration, indicating recovery close to the conditions of a Class 2 river.

During the rainy season, the water quality worsens, as has happened before the disruption. The increase in the concentration of some of these parameters such as aluminum, iron, manganese and turbidity may be related to the suspension of the material deposited on the riverbed and the new contributions caused by natural soil materials in the region, or due to other activities historically carried out in the region.

The evaluation of the water quality of the Paraopeba River and its tributaries continues to show results that indicate the  improviment of several physicochemical parameters, regardless of the influence of climatic factors.

Monitoring in numbers

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Around 80 monitoring points.

15 telemetric stations installed for continuous monitoring.

Over 6.2 million water and sediment results.

Almost 69,000 samples collected.

Around 250 professionals involved in this process.

Fotógrafo: Ricardo Teles

Monitoring of the Paraopeba River by IGAM 

Vale signed the Term of Commitment (TC) with the Public Ministry of the State of Minas Gerais (MPMG), which establishes the  transfer of all monitoring actions of water resources and sediments along the Paraopeba River Basin and in the São Francisco River for the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute (IGAM). To absorb the monitoring data after the breakup, Vale is developing, together with IGAM, a water monitoring software for the entire State of Minas Gerais. Vale  hires a technical and independent auditor, who is responsible for overseeing the entire transfer process, which is expected to take 33 months after the signing of the Global Agreement.

Igam has a fundamental role as a supervisory body, in the scope of evaluating the results and studies related to the sampling carried out by Vale, as well as in requesting responses and proposing changes in the way the work is being carried out. 

Igam reinforces that the recommendation of not using raw water from the Paraopeba River for any purpose is still maintained, as a preventive measure, in the stretch that covers the municipalities of Brumadinho up to the limit of the Retiro Baixo HPP, in Pompéu (approximately 250 km from distance from the break). The use of water in the stretches before the municipality of Brumadinho (before the stretch affected by the rupture) and after the Retiro Baixo HPP are authorized for a wide range of purposes and there is no restriction by public bodies. 

Monitoring the quality of the water is essential to subsidize the agency and, in the future, allow the resumption of use. This is a decision that does not depend on Vale, and to support the assessment of the water quality condition, the monitoring results are periodically sent to the State's supervisory bodies. 

Surface Water and Sediment Quality Cycle Closure Report: understand what it is for and what is done with it 

The Cycle Closing Report contemplates the evaluation of monitoring data within the scope of the Monitoring Plans. 

It presents the behaviour of the results of monitoring of surface waters and sediments in the Paraopeba river basin up to the Três Marias reservoir, in different seasonal periods. 

The document aims to present an assessment of the quality of water and sediment, bringing into consideration the variations that occur during the rainy and dry periods of the hydrological cycles, over the years of monitoring.

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Water Supply 

After the B1 Dam Breach in Brumadinho, the use of water from the Paraopeba river was interrupted and Vale assumed a commitment, with the competent public authorities to guarantee the water supply of all municipalities impacted by this measure. 

Our initiatives are divided into two fronts, which serve the public supply and the riverside population: 

Emergency corrective actions

These are actions aimed at animal consumption, agricultural irrigation and human consumption. 

 Structuring preventive actions


Those actions carried out to ensure water security and that usually involve works, in order to promote improvement and adjustments in the public supply. They consist of the drilling and reactivation of deep tubular wells, abstractions in surface water sources and in the installation of water treatment systems. 


 

Public supply 

Access to water in sufficient quantity and quality is a human right. Therefore, we are working with the implementation of several solutions for the supply of drinking water in the municipalities that had withdrawal from the Paraopeba river. 

Know the actions

Pipeline system measuring around 12 km deployed in the Paraopeba river in a region not affected by the rupture with the capacity to operate with the same flow as the previous withdrawal of 5,000 L/s. The purpose of this work is to guarantee the water supply of the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte. 

A pipeline system measuring around 50 km long with withdrawal from the Pará river, which was not affected by the sediments of the B1 dam, for direct service to the municipality of Pará de Minas. The structure's flow rate is 284 l/s, the same volume that the municipality used to capture from the Paraopeba River before the dam breach. 

Watch the video to learn more: 

The water supply to the municipalities of Paraopeba and Caetanópolis is being served through wells drilled and reactivated by Vale and complemented by the surface withdrawal of the Cedro stream. 
Currently, Vale supplies the communities of Parque da Cachoeira, Tejuco, Pontinha, Ponte das Almorreimas, Imperial and Boa Vista. The supply is carried out by tubular wells or water trucks. 
Implementation of a water reservoir with a capacity of 700 thousand m³ as a definitive alternative to the drilled wells and the surface withdrawal from the Cedro stream to supply the municipalities of Paraopeba and Caetanópolis. 
To learn more about the request for drinking water supply via water tankers, call the Call Center: 0800 031 0831. 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

So far, Vale has released a flow of: 

204.060.040 liters/day for public supply 

This equates to a city of 1,3 milion Inhabitants 

*Data on October 18, 2022, according flows granted

Supply for the riverside population 

Distribution of drinking water to those who live on the banks of the Paraopeba River. This water can be supplied by wells drilled or reactivated by Vale (structuring preventive actions) or by means of a water truck or mineral water distribution (emergency corrective actions).

Irrigation 

641.246.217 liters 

Animal consumption 

786.078.750 liters

Domestic use 

657.667.483 liters 

21.954.360 liters 

*Data on December 2022 

Agricultural use  

2.797.384.800 liters 

*Data on December 2022, according flows granted​ 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

  • Brumadinho 
  • São Joaquim de Bicas 
  • Mário Campos 
  • Betim 
  • Esmeraldas 
  • Juatuba 
  • Florestal 
  • Pará de Minas 
  • São José da Varginha 
  • Pequi 
  • Fortuna de Minas 
  • Maravilhas 
  • Papagaios 
  • Paraopeba 
  • Curvelo 
  • Pompéu 

Learn more

Foto de placeholder Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Treatment systems  

Vale continues to work to improve the water quality of the Paraopeba river basin. 

One of its actions is the installation of treatment systems to ensure quality water for the population living in the locations between Brumadinho and the Três Marias reservoir. The installation of the new treatment systems was based on an agreement made with the State Health Department of Minas Gerais (SES/MG).

Structuring preventive actions in the Rio das Velhas Basin

Although it has not been impacted by the B1 rupture, the Rio das Velhas is receiving a preventive investment. Get to know some actions:

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Manifolds - Copasa water truck supply  

Improvement works to guarantee the water supply, by means of water trucks, to essential users whose daily consumption is less than 80 m³ of water, to subnormal agglomerations, to vulnerable areas and to regions without technical supply conditions of the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte (RMBH) in case of hypothetical compromise in the water withdrawal of ETA Bela Fama. 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

RMBH supply contingency plan  

The plan includes actions that should be implemented, if there is the impossibility of raw water withdrawal in the Rio das Velhas due to any event that compromises the supply in the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte (RMBH).

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Cambimbe Pipeline System  

The installation of the pipeline system is a preventive action that guarantees an alternative water collection for Nova Lima and Raposos in case of water withdrawal in Rio das Velhas being compromised. The pipeline, which will have about 4 km, will take the water from this point to the Bela Fama Treatment Plant (ETA). 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Carlos Prates Pipeline System  

Implementation of a 2 km long pipeline system in the Novo Glória neighborhood in Belo Horizonte, which connects the water supply systems of the Paraopeba River Basin to the Rio das Velhas Basin. The structure will contribute to ensure an improvement in the current Copasa distribution system and is designed to meet a flow rate of 320 l/s. 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

North Vector  

Drilling and reactivation of wells belonging to Copasa in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa, São José da Lapa and Vespasiano including the adjustments in the distribution network to serve 81,000 inhabitants.
Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Sabará Wells  

Drilling of tubular wells in Sabará for the public water supply serving about 50,900 inhabitants. 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

Essential customers  

Essential customers are those who carry out essential activities, as stipulated in ARSAE-MG Resolution No. 68/2015. In this context, for essential users who have water consumption above 80 m³ / day, an alternative action will be implemented to guarantee supply, such as drilling wells, supplementary reserve and redundancy works. The other essential users, with consumption below 80 m³ / day, will be served by water truck.

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Water Security  

In addition to the projects executed by Vale, the company is developing 5 (five) basic projects of water safety works, which will be delivered to the water supply concessionaire for subsequent bidding and contracting and aim to guarantee a demand corresponding to 15,000 l/s to supply the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte. 

  • Expansion of the Manso River supply system 

We are developing studies and projects to ensure compliance with the current water demand of RMBH corresponding to 15,000 l/s. One of the structuring interventions is the expansion of the Manso River water supply system. The projects include the expansion of capacity by approximately 55% of the Water Treatment Plant - ETA Manso, and also the expansion of 4 elevators and water pipeline systems.

  • Interconnection pipeline system of reservoirs R10-R13 

The Conduct Agreement (TC) also includes Water Security the preparation of a treated water pipeline project with approximately 30 km in length that will interconnect two reservoirs, called R10 and R13 and increase the possibility of transfer between the water systems of Paraopeba and the Rio das Velhas, which will provide an increase in resilience for public supply of RMBH. 

  • Dam project in the Macaúbas stream 

Projects are being prepared for the implementation water withdrawal works in the Macaúbas stream through the implementation of a dam, shrinkage and water supply until the new withdrawal from the Paraopeba river. These interventions will bring greater security for water reservation and continuity of public supply especially in critical periods (drought). 

  • Withdrawal from Ponte de Arame 

Part of the scope of the Water Security TC consists of studies and projects for the implementation of new water withdrawal in the Rio das Velhas, in the region known as "Ponte de Arame". This new system will have the implementation of 1 run-of-the-river water withdrawal system in its first stage and later with the implementation of a Dam. These projects will supply the Water Treatment Plant - ETA Bela Fama through a pipeline system approximately 25 km in length. As the 1st Dam in the basin of the Velhas river for public supply, this project will provide greater security for supplying the RMBH. 

  • Withdrawal from the Ribeirão do Prata 

In addition, the Water Security scope includes the withdrawal of water in the Ribeirão do Prata, which includes the collection by water and a pipeline extending approximately 9 km to the Bela Fama WTP. 

A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. Paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose.
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Biodiversity in the Paraopeba River Basin 

The recovery of the Paraopeba river and its biodiversity is one of Vale's commitments in the reparation work. Therefore, since the rupture of the B1 dam in Brumadinho, short, medium and long-term measures have been carried out. 

Monitoring 

Biodiversity monitoring is carried out on a permanent basis by companies specialized in the area of the environment, biologists, field assistants and veterinarians, with the coordination of university professors. In all, 35 points are studied for aquatic biodiversity and 20 areas for terrestrial biodiversity, which cover regions not affected, areas affected in lesser intensity and areas severely affected by tailings. 

The fauna and flora in some marginal lakes and in the main tributaries of the Paraopeba river are also analysed. 

By expanding monitoring to unaffected locations, it is possible to assess the environmental conditions and the real impact of the disruption on biodiversity. 

It is based on these constant analyses that we understand the impacts and can understand the best actions to be taken in favour of the local flora and fauna.

Watch the video below to find out how monitoring is done:

Young resident of Brumadinho helps collect 782 kg of fruits and seeds of 100 native species to restore region’s biodiversity 

 

José Fernandes, 19, spends most of his time on the Seeds Project, which is helping reforest areas impacted by the failure of the B1 Tailings Dam. 

Photographer: Vale’s Archive 

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Explore the study área

Aquatic Biodiversity 

Currently, the study area of aquatic communities on the Paraopeba river ranges from the Salto do Paraopeba Small Hydroelectric Plant, in Jeceaba, to beyond the Três Marias dam. 

After studies by experts from government institutions, 35 points were selected for aquatic monitoring, in affected and unaffected areas.

Fish 

In the local rivers, we are monitoring fish, plants, aquatic insects, microscopic plants and plankton. 

The objective is to evaluate whether the dam failure was followed by any changes in the abundance and diversity of these life forms, their reproduction and feeding, the occurrence of parasites and other aquatic biota interactions. 

For this comparison to be possible, the same parameters are being evaluated in areas affected by the tailings and other areas that were not affected.  

The reparation so far

At the end of December 2019, Vale started the Aquatic Biodiversity Monitoring Program, following the guidelines presented by the Minas Gerais State Forestry Institute (IEF).
In 2020, tailings were removed at the mouth of the Ferro Carvão stream’s estuary, from the Alberto Flores Bridge to the confluence of the Ferro Carvão stream’s estuary with the Paraopeba river. The stabilization of the banks of the creek and the reconstitution of its gutter was also carried out; 
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Fish 

We also monitor the fish in the Paraopeba River Basin during the spawning season. During this period, between November and February, schools of fish commonly swim against the current to release their eggs and complete the reproductive cycle. For this evaluation, 22 points along the Paraopeba River (upstream and downstream of the dam failure site), tributaries and adjacent lagoons are monitored every five days to understand how the river and its main tributaries are used as spawning areas and to detect possible changes in fish reproduction.

  • Histopathological analysis 

Histopathological analysis is carried out to assess possible illnesses or damage to fish due to exposure to tailings from the dam failure. 

 

  • Assessment of parasitic worms 

Tests are being performed as part of environmental impact monitoring to identify the presence of parasites as bioindicators. 

 

  • Bioaccumulation of metals 

Animals undergo identification, biometry and removal of muscle and liver to check for the presence of metals such as aluminum, copper, iron, lead and zinc. We look to see if there are high concentrations of certain chemicals in organisms at the highest level of the food chain.  

 

  • Toxicology and genotoxicity in fish and aquatic invertebrates 

Scientific studies are analyzing the effects of chemical substances on organisms and their ability to induce changes in the genetic material of animals that have been exposed to them. 

 

  • Ecotoxicological tests 

These tests study the effects of one or more chemical compounds on a population or community of organisms. They function as an environmental monitoring tool, based on the responses of tested organisms exposed to chemicals. 

Important 

On February 28, 2019, fishing for native species was prohibited in the Paraopeba river basin, by Ordinance No. 16 issued by the State Forestry Institute (Instituto Estadual de Florestas – IEF), and this continues until the publication of a new Ordinance. 

Planktonic communities 

The technical team also studies planktonic communities (formed by different microorganisms), which have some important bioindicators. These bioindicators are sensitive to pollution and help us to verify that the physical, chemical and biological parameters of the river water are adequate. The collections of these microorganisms are carried out with plankton nets and the analyses are carried out in the laboratory, using a microscope.

Phytoplankton  – A group of photosynthetic microorganisms composed of microscopic unicellular algae and cyanobacteria that live dispersed in water.
Zooplankton – Set of aquatic organisms, usually microscopic, that do not carry out photosynthesis and live dispersed in the water column. Includes protozoa, worms, crustaceans, among others.
Periphyton – A set of organisms that attach to solid surfaces and can form a thin layer on these surfaces in aquatic habitats . Their size ranges from microscopic organisms to some several meters in size.
Zoobenthos – Set of organisms that live in water during at least one phase of their life cycle and that are larger than 0.5 mm; hence they are called macroinvertebrates. Insect larvae, crustaceans and molluscs are some examples of these organisms.

Aquatic biota of the Ferro-Carvão stream basin 

As part of the monitoring, we follow the aquatic biota , that is, the set of aquatic living beings, from the Ferro-Carvão stream basin. For this, we studied different groups of animals, including aquatic invertebrates and fish. 

For the collection of fish samples, 10 points were defined in the tributaries of the stream. For the collection of aquatic invertebrates, three streams from the Ferro-Carvão basin and watercourses in a nearby basin with similar hydrogeomorphological and ecological characteristics​ are sampled. This monitoring seeks to assess the possible loss of interaction, also called loss of ichthyofauna connectivity, between the species existing in the Ferro-Carvão basin. Delete 'what do we evaluate?'

Terrestrial biodiversity 

In the forested areas of the Ferro-Carvão Creek Basin and surroundings, and on the banks of the Paraopeba River, various groups of fauna and flora are being monitored to assess their diversity and abundance in affected and non-affected areas. The following activities stand out: ​

Fauna

Monitoring of endangered species: black-collared swallow (Pygochelidon melanoleuca), swallowtail butterfly (Parides burchellanus) and neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis). 
Monitoring of terrestrial invertebrates: bees, beetles, butterflies, termites and ants. 
Monitoring of terrestrial amphibians and reptiles, forest-dwelling birds and small non-flying mammals, bats, and medium and large mammals. 
Laboratory studies to assess whether chemical contamination is occurring. To this end, samples are collected from wild animals (blood and fur, for example) and plants (roots and leaves).  
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Flora  

  • Marking and sampling of botanical plots to monitor phytosociological parameters (meaning the study of the plant community, its floristic composition and vegetation structure). ​

    To assess whether there have been any impacts on vegetation outside areas directly affected by the tailings, botanical samples have been taken close to areas covered by tailings and also in distant locations for comparison purposes. These sites are being monitored over time to verify whether proximity to the tailings will generate any long-term impacts and, if so, identify the best mitigation measures.  

Photographer: Laura Sales

The reparation so far 

More than 202 wild animals carefully returned to the wild and in accordance with the appropriate technical and legal procedures. 
Between August 2020 and March 2022 (or in the first year of monitoring), 334 species of flora, 273 species of terrestrial invertebrates, 32 species of amphibians and reptiles, 187 bird species and 67 mammal species were recorded. 
Of these species, 28 are classified as threatened to some degree at state, national and/or international level. They include the Bahia rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), Tantilla boipiranga snake, ornate hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), puma (Puma concolor) and maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). 
A breeding population of the black-collared swallow (Pygochelidon melanoleuca), a bird considered critically endangered in the state of Minas Gerais, was found in the Paraopeba River Basin and it is being monitored by a team of biologists and assistants coordinated by a Viçosa Federal University professor. After two years of monitoring work, this is now the most comprehensive study of this species ever carried out in the whole world. 
Biodiversity monitoring also confirmed the presence of the rare Parides burchellanus butterfly in Brumadinho, close to the area affected by the dam failure. This species lives in extremely small populations, in closed canopy areas of forest along the banks of rivers and streams, and it is threatened with extinction due to the destruction of this type of habitat. More than 100 individuals have so far been identified and recolonization is expected over time, through the dispersion of individuals from the adjacent areas under monitoring to the recovered areas.
We are monitoring 14 flora species and 14 fauna species that are classified as endangered to some extent at state, national and/or international level.
More than 200 professionals, including biologists, veterinarians, environmental engineers and field assistants, are dedicated to animal rescue, care and preparation for reintegration into nature.
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Currently, we are monitoring around 14 flora species and 14 fauna species that are endangered to some extent at state, national and/or international level. Here are some of our discoveries: 

Black-collared swallow
A breeding population of more than 100 black-collared swallows (Pygochelidon melanoleuca), a bird considered critically endangered in the state of Minas Gerais, was found in the Paraopeba River Basin, between the municipalities of Pompéu and Curvelo. This group is being monitored by a team of biologists and assistants, coordinated by a professor at Viçosa Federal University. This species builds its nests in places that are hard to access, inside crevices located in rocky outcrops along river rapids. After two years of monitoring work, this study is now the most comprehensive carried out involving this species in the whole world.  
Watch a vídeo about the Black-collared swallow and learn more​.

Swallowtail butterfly 
Biodiversity monitoring has also confirmed the presence of the rare swallowtail butterfly (Parides burchellanus) in Brumadinho, close to the area affected by the dam failure. It lives in extremely small populations, in closed canopy areas of riparian forest (on the banks of rivers and streams) – and it is threatened with extinction due to the destruction of these spaces. More than 100 individuals have so far been identified and, over time, recolonization is expected through the dispersion of individuals from adjacent areas that are being monitored to the restored areas. 
Watch a vídeo about the Swallowtail butterfly  and learn more​.

We have captured and clinically evaluated wild animals (such as birds, snakes, tortoises and possums) found in the areas where emergency work has taken place. Rescue actions are carried out in line with all capture and confinement protocol for the respective fauna group (amphibians and reptiles, birds or mammals). 

All these procedures aim to ensure the well-being and safety of the animals, always seeking the best destination for each individual. If they are in good condition, they are released immediately into their natural habitat. If they need veterinary treatment that requires a period of hospitalization, they are sent to Vale facilities, where they are housed in environments that respect the specific characteristics of their biology and ecology. 

These animals are overseen by specialists, who perform various procedures, including laboratory tests, provision of a balanced diet to help with physical and behavioral recovery, and muscle training. They may also undergo behavioral rehabilitation, in which tests and training are carried out to develop their survival capabilities and skills in the natural environment before they are reintroduced into the wild. 

Animals that do not have the capacity for rehabilitation or release are sent to an institution that is capable of maintaining their physical and psychological well-being for the rest of their life in captivity, such as a breeding site, shelter or zoo. All of these actions comply with current environmental standards and are authorized by the environmental agency.  

Exotic wild animals rescued or captured undergo the same veterinary care, however, they are not reintroduced into the wild. After the treatment has been carried out, Vale decides with the environmental agency which is the best destination for the exotic animal. 

Flora monitoring 

Flora research 

​To assess whether there has been an impact on vegetation beyond the area directly affected by the tailings, botanical flora studies are carried out that monitor, among other things, possible changes in vegetation structure and species diversity.

In these areas, we are monitoring members of species belonging to different forest strata, such as trees, shrubs, herbs, epiphytes and lianas. These individuals are marked in the field, samples are collected for botanical identification and a database is being built to analyze this flora.

Rescue of plant species 

We are using technology to facilitate the recovery of the impacted vegetation. A partnership between Vale and researchers from Viçosa Federal University is applying a technique to extract DNA from the region’s plants and reproduce it. This is now being used to aid forest restoration in the area.
 

​Trees that under normal conditions could take more than eight years to flower can start this process between six and twelve months, accelerating the recovery of the impacted sites and the restoration of the region’s biodiversity. The initial project involved collecting genetic material from five pre-selected species, including endangered and legally protected ones.


The second stage of the work involves protecting another 30 species considered to be of great interest, including a critically endangered tree called Dimorphandra wilsonii Rizzini, which is endemic to the state of Minas Gerais. Some of the saplings grown from recovered material have been planted in forest restoration sites in Brumadinho since 2021. 

Revegetation - Ground Zero Project 

In December 2020, Vale completed the first stage of the Ground Zero project, which involved forest restoration work such as: seed collection, seedling production, acclimatization and planting in areas to be recovered at the mouth of the Ferro-Carvão stream's estuary. Other ecological restoration techniques used were nucleation (which forms favourable microhabitats to attract species and accelerate the process of succession and local diversity), through the installation of artificial perches and soil transposition; which will also contribute to the recovery process in the medium term. At the end of the restoration work, the Ground Zero area will have around 4,000 seedlings of tree species native to the region. 

The activities are being carried out in full compliance with legislation and are monitored through meetings, field visits and reports by various public bodies. Depending on the case, one or more of the institutions below are responsible for issuing authorizations. No action is performed without proper authorization or follow-up. 

  • State Forestry Institute (Instituto Estadual de Florestas – IEF) 

  • Prosecution Office of The State of Minas Gerais (Ministério Público de Minas Gerais – MPMG) 

  • Water Management Institute of Minas Gerais (Instituto Mineiro de Gestão de Águas – IGAM) 

  • State Environmental Foundation (Fundação Estadual de Meio Ambiente – FEAM) 

  • State Department for Environment and Sustainable Development (Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável – SEMAD) 

  • Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis – IBAMA) 

  • Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade – ICMBio) 

In addition to the team of specialists working in the field, we have monitoring and reparation techniques developed by researchers and professors from the following partner institutions: 

  • Federal University of Minas Gerais (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG) 

  • Federal University of Viçosa (Universidade Federal de Viçosa – UFV) 

  • Federal University of Ouro Preto (Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto – UFOP 

  • State University of Minas Gerais (Universidade Estadual de Minas Gerais – UEMG) 

  • Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora – UFJF) 

  • Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro – UFTM) 

To this end, we remain committed to carrying out actions to monitor local biodiversity, such as water, soil and animals, in addition to carrying out activities aimed at the revegetation of affected areas. 

We are also committed to ensuring quality water for populations that depended on abstraction from the Paraopeba River.  
Photographer: Vale's Archive
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Discover our areas of activity:

Biodiversity monitoring

Aquatic biodiversity

Terrestrial biodiversity

Botanical Monitoring 

Recovery of plant species

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Photographer: Ricardo Teles

Water supply

After the collapse of Dam B1, in Brumadinho, the use of water from the Paraopeba River was interrupted and Vale assumed a commitment, together with the competent public bodies, to ensure the water supply of all affected municipalities.

For this, we carry out corrective actions (aimed at animal consumption, agricultural irrigation and human consumption) and preventive actions (to ensure water security and adequacy in public supply).

So far, Vale has provided a flow rate of: 

204,060,040

L/day for public supply 

Volume of mineral water supplied to communities 

19,306,838

million liters 

Volume of water made available by drilled wells 

2,384,773,800

of liters 

In a total of: 

3,586,476,649

Liters 

Photographer: Vale's Archive

Discover the actions being carried out 

The action seeks to ensure quality water for the population living in the areas between Brumadinho and the Três Marias reservoir.
Among the initiatives for preventive actions, there is the installation of a containment barrier that surrounds the Bela Fama water withdrawal, in Nova Lima. The barrier is about 3 meters high and 300 meters long and its works were completed in December 2019. 
We are developing projects to ensure that the water demand of RMBH corresponds to 15,000 l/s. 
The Commitment Agreement also includes the preparation of the project for a treated water pipeline with approximately 30 km in length. It will connect two reservoirs (R10-R13), increasing the transfer between the Paraopeba and Velhas river water systems.  
We are also developing studies and projects for the implementation of a new water withdrawal in the Velhas river, in the Ponte de Arame region.  
The scope also includes water withdrawal in Ribeirão da Prata, which includes run-of-river water withdrawal and a 9 km pipeline to the ETA Bela Fama.

Do you want more information about the public supply schedule via water trucks? 
To learn more about requesting the supply of drinking water via water trucks, call the Call Center: 0800 031 0831. 

The data obtained from the monitoring works is periodically delivered to inspection agencies and to the Public Presecution Office of Minas Gerais. 

To discover the official technical results, visit our transparency area

Fotógrafo:

The activities are being carried out in full compliance with the legislation and are monitored through meetings, field visits and reports by various public bodies. No action is taken without the authorization of the competent institutions.

Fotógrafo: Ricardo Teles

Paraopeba river water quality 

The restoration of the Paraopeba River is one of the main commitments of our environmental reparation work.

Since the reparation of Dam B1, in Brumadinho, in addition to the monthly monitoring carried out by the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute (Igam), we have monitored the quality of the waters of the Paraopeba River and its tributaries. The data obtained from the monitoring works is periodically delivered to inspection bodies and to the Public Presecution Office of Minas Gerais. 

What are the results obtained so far? 

  • Since May 2019, the Paraopeba River has not received tailings loading; 
     
  • The tailings did not reach the São Francisco River. The impacts on water quality were identified up to the limit with the Retiro Baixo Hydroelectric Power Plant, in Pompéu (MG);
     
  • No impacts were detected on the waters of the Três Marias Hydroelectric Power Plant reservoir, as demonstrated in studies by environmental agencies;
     
  • The turbidity levels and the total metals, Manganese, Iron and Aluminum, are progressively reducing during the dry period, and statistical trend tests prove an improvement in the water quality of the affected regions.
Photo: Vale's Archive
Onda