Brumadinho - ESG
On January 25th, 2019, Dam I, at the "Córrego do Feijão" mine, in Brumadinho (MG), collapsed. Since the first hours after the dam breach, Vale has been providing support to those affected and their families. Several actions have been carried out in the social, environmental, infrastructure and safety areas. We continue to invest in initiatives towards the development of sustainable mining, reducing impacts and acting with society, transparently, to mitigate even more the risks associated with our operations.
Dam I of the Córrego do Feijão mine received the disposal of iron ore tailings from Vale’s production in Brumadinho (MG). The dam was inactive (it was no longer receiving tailings), there was no lake present and no other operational activity was in progress. At that time, the dam’s de-characterization project was under development. The dam was built in 1976 by Ferteco Mineração (a company acquired by Vale on April 27, 2001) using the upstream heightening method. The dam height was 86 meters and its crest length was 720 meters. The tailings occupied an area of 249.5 thousand square meters and the disposed volume was 11.7 million cubic meters.
Full Reparation Agreement
Made effective on the 4th of February 2021 by Vale, the Minas Gerais state government, the State and Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office for the State of Minas Gerais.
The agreement guarantees legal security and rapidity in repairing diffuse and collective socioenvironmental and socioeconomic damages.
The Full Reparation Agreement is exclusively civil in nature. All criminal proceedings remain open and will be decided upon by the Brazilian judiciary.
See the measures included in the agreement:
See what is not included in the Full Reparation Agreement’s ceiling price, but will continue to be paid by Vale:
Check actions and expenses monitored by the agreement:
Provides resources for contracting independent auditors in order to provide signatory institutions with support in monitoring the fulfillment of their obligations.
Learn more about payment obligations under the agreement:
The Brazilian government and judiciary will be responsible for choosing, developing, and carrying out these interventions, programs, and projects, without participation from Vale.
Actions generated and coordinated by the State of Minas Gerais and judiciary institutions, which will provide information on the scope and dynamics of participation.
Since these initiatives are not carried out by Vale itself, questions and concerns must be directed to the communication channels available with the Brazilian government.
The Full Reparation Agreement is based on two fronts: socioenvironmental and socioeconomic. Understand each of them.
Learn more about our socioenvironmental obligations:
Determine and carry out the series of reparation measures aimed at environmental recovery, as well as measures and initiatives (whether financial or of a different nature) aimed at providing compensation for all impacts, damages, or losses caused by the dam collapse and other negative repercussions.
The socioenvironmental recovery process
Projects aimed at providing compensation for recognized environmental damage
Learn more abou tour socioeconomic obligations:
Flow for defining and approval of projects
After analyzing the flow, understand:
1. Participation in defining all projects that will be carried out using resources from the Projects for Direct Demands of Affected Individuals (Anexo I.1)
2. Proposals for socioeconomic projects in the Paraopeba Basin and socioeconomic projects for Brumadinho (Annexes I.3 and I.4) and participation in the public consultation process aimed at prioritizing these projects.
This means that all decision making will take place through direct participation or previous consultation of all parties involved in projects.
The agreement allows for the possibility of municipalities that are not on the list of those “hereby qualified” to request this recognition. There is a 2-year period for request this qualification and part of the funds allocated in annex 1.3 is reserved for such circumstances.
These final decisions will be binding upon the Parties.
Vale will not take part in the consultation process and will only be responsible for preparing and implementing projects deemed to be a priority.
It is important to note that the operational parameters with regards to the prioritization process are still being defined by the Brazilian state and institutions and will be widely disseminated on the webpages for the Pro-Brumadinho Steering Committee, the Brazilian government and other information channels once this information becomes available.
The website will be constantly updated with information on the progress made with regards to initiatives and projects that are currently underway. Further information is also available at the website minasemobras.mg.gov.br (in Portuguese, only).
What amount will be allocated to Environmental Recovery and who will be responsible for paying for the execution of projects?
This means that Vale is not only assuming responsibility for repairing all environmental damages, but also committing itself to spending any amounts necessary to reaching this objective in accordance with defined socioenvironmental indicators and taking the situation prior to the dam rupture into account. It is important to remember that various emergency environmental recovery efforts are already underway.
What areas are subject to socioenvironmental compensation for recognized environmental damage?
The amount allocated for socioenvironmental initiatives is R$ 1,550,000,000.00, with Vale responsible for making payments and implementing initiatives.
Measures for compensation or indemnification defined in this agreement correspond with the measures and initiatives (whether financial or of a different nature) aimed at indemnifying, compensating, providing benefits, corresponding credits and/or offsetting, in a proportional manner and as agreed upon in the Global Settlement, the irreparable damages caused by the dam collapse and its negative repercussions. The following items are included in the compensation measures:
1. Irreparable environmental damage, listed in Annex IX of the Agreement;
2. The irrecoverable part of recoverable environment damages recognized up to the date on which this Agreement was entered into, as set forth in the diagnostic contained in the Environmental Recovery Plan. It is important to note that, in circumstances in which future diagnostics are performed that expand the irrecoverable part of damages, new compensatory measures will be applied that are proportional to the additional irrecoverable part;
3. The losses, negative impacts, and damages stemming from interim loss of natural resources and/or environmental services which were incurred during the period of time before the damages occurred and the measures for environmental recovery being concluded (considered to be intercurrent environmental damages for these purposes of compensation), in accordance with the Environmental Recovery Plan.
All criminal proceedings remain effective and will be decided upon by the Brazilian judiciary
Economic and non-economic compensation
Last updated in December, 2022.
R$ 37.6 billion
Searches are a priority
With Vale's continued support, the searches conducted by the Military Fire Brigade of Minas Gerais for the three people still missing, has entered a new phase, which should reduce the time required to search all the tailings scattered in the region by at least half, with implementation of the 8th strategy. The corporation started operating the Search Stations, specific equipment developed in conjunction with the fire department and with participation from the association of the victims' relatives.
In addition to improving efficiency and speed, the new strategy increases safety for all involved. The equipment is being installed where the old Railway Cargo Terminal (TCF) was, at the Córrego do Feijão mine. At the Stations, in a safe environment, protected from rain and wind, the material from the dam break is classified and inspected by the fire brigade with the help of high definition cameras.
By April 2022, the forecast is to have four stations operating simultaneously and a backup station.
Results of searches
(Last updated: 12/21/2022)
Emergency data and donations
(Actions carried out in 2019)
The carrying out of initiatives aimed at improving quality of life and collective wellbeing is one of the main elements of the process of providing compensation for the impacts of the B1 dam rupture. Defined through means of active consultations with communities and government partnerships, these projects are mainly aimed at urban infrastructure and public equipment.
Learn more about some of the projects:
Vale has also supported water security efforts for the population of the Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Region, which withdraws water from the das Velhas and Paraopeba river basins. As part of these efforts, underground wells have already been provided to municipalities in the RMBH, community reservoirs installed in small towns and low-income settlements (favelas), as well as water reservoirs for essential clients in the region, such as hospitals, schools, and penitentiaries. Another project that has been concluded is the Carlos Prates Pipeline, which has increased the possibility of water transfer between distribution systems in the Paraopeba and das Velhas river basins. Finally, a new water withdrawal system for the Paraopeba river, constructed by Vale in Brumadinho, has already begun pumping water. Pumping activities are being carried out in stages, beginning with a volume of 1000 litres per second and increasing until a total volume of 5000 litres per second is reached, the same flow of water withdrawal that is currently suspended.
A new pipeline system for the Pará river was definitively completed in April 2021 after the Assisted Operations phase for the Pará de Minas Water Concessionaire and the municipality. The new pipelines system is part of a series of actions aimed at ensuring water supply in Pará de Minas. The flow of water withdrawn is 284 L/sec. (a little more than one million litres per hour), the same flow which the municipality was previously authorized for the Paraopeba river. When water withdrawal is cleared for the Paraopeba river, the new pipeline system will allow the capacity of captured water to be doubled, provided the population with increased tranquility and water security.
Projects completed in Brumadinho
Health Cycle - service in São Joaquim de Bicas
Memorial - Construction in progress
Health Cycle - Support actions for São Joaquim de Bicas
Projects currently underway
Since 2019, we have remained committed to contributing to economic development in the communities affected by the dam collapse. Through means of projects aimed at training, entrepreneurial support, and job creation, we are supporting municipalities in reducing local economic dependence on mining activities, strengthening local vocational activities, and providing incentives for new businesses increasing household income amongst residents.
Learn more about some of the projects:
Despite a 37.9% drop in the performance of the tourism sector in Brazil last year (according to IBGE, the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics), businesses receiving support from the program registered an average growth of more than 4% in annual revenue and 10% in the number of workstations.
Recovery of the Paraopeba river and its biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of our work. For this reason, measures are being implemented over the short, medium, and long-term. We have implemented a series of actions that, by 2019, had already impeded new transport of sediment to the river and helped to contain tailings.
With tailings contained and impeded from entering the river, we are currently installing two water treatment stations (ETAFs) that will return more than 28 billion litres of treated water to the river.
In order to repair environmental damage, our plan is to completely remove all tailings by 2023 and carry out revegetation throughout the area by 2025. Part of this area has already been recovered and part of the original Ferro-Carvão stream has been restored. For more information, please visit our Reparation Report
The Barragem B dam, one of the remaining structures from the Córrego do Feijão mine received a Declaration of Conditions of Stability (DCE) and was removed from level 1 Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams, returning to level 0, which attests to the conditions of stability and safety currently found at the dam.
Monitoring of biodiversity is being carried out permanently by companies specializing in the environment and includes biologists, field support workers, and veterinarian doctors.
In total, 35 specific points for aquatic biota and 20 areas of terrestrial biota are currently being studied, which includes non-affected regions, less affected areas, and areas severely affected by tailings.
By June of 2021, 79 birds of different species have already been rehabilitated and reintroduced into nature. Seventeen of these species were rescued from the areas directly impacted by the dam collapse and the remaining 62 were retrieved from Ibama’s (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) triage centres which care for groups of animals that are suitable for repopulation.
Click the link below to learn more about Vale’s efforts to monitor and care for biodiversity.
A guarantee that it won´t be repeated
One of the pillars of Vale's work to guarantee that there won´t be a repeat of dam breaches such as the one in Brumadinho, is by eliminating all its upstream dams in the country, in the shortest time possible, always with the safety of people, workers and the environment as priority. After eliminating seven structures of this type since 2019 - four in Minas Gerais and three in Pará -, of the 30 mapped, practically 25% of the company's De-characterization Program has been completed. For 2022, the forecast is to eliminate more than five upstream structures. With this, the company expects to end 2022 with 40% of these structures eliminated. This means that 12 out of 30 mapped dams will already be de-characterized.
At the same time and aligned with the best international practices for dam management, the company has intensified preventive, corrective and monitoring actions in its structures advancing toward the goal of not having any critical condition dams (emergency level 3) by 2025. These actions also increase safety in the upstream structures that will be eliminated until the preparatory and engineering steps for de-characterization are completed.
Eliminating upstream dams is part of the cultural transformation process that the company has been undergoing since the dam collapse in Brumadinho. In Brazil, de-characterization is also one of the main milestones in the evolution of Vale's dam management model, with three lines of defense focused primarily on the safety of the structures and the people living nearby. The model is aligned with the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management (GISTM), which establishes requirements to safely manage tailings disposal structures and aims to avoid causing any harm to people and the environment.
Vale, as a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), has made a public commitment to be 100% compliant with the 77 requirements of GISTM at all of its tailings disposal facilities by 2025. Fully compliant with GISTM and without any structures at emergency level 3, the company projects that it will finish 2025 at a new, higher level of safety in its operations.
On the 12th of December 2019, the Panel of Specialists contracted by Vale’s external legal advisors to evaluate the technical causes behind the rupture of the Barragem I dam at the Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho published its findings. The Panel of Specialists, the composition of which was revealed on the 8th of February 2019, was instructed to use its professional experience and judgement in investigating and reporting on the technical causes for the dam collapse. The report from Panel, which consists of a document containing ten appendices and a short explanatory video are available at http://www.b1technicalinvestigation.com/.
Announced on the 15th of February 2019, the CIAE-SB (Special Independent Committee for Dam Safety Advising) was instituted by the company’s Board of Directors under the coordination of Professor Flavio Miguez Mello, a highly respected expert in dam engineering with more than 50 years of professional experience. The geotechnical specialists Willy Lacerda and Mr. Pedro Repetto will also be working alongside Mr. Mello.
The CIAE-SB has dedicated itself during the approximately two years that have passed since its formation to performing diagnostics on safety conditions, management, and mitigation of risks with regards to Vale’s dams, as well as recommending measures to be taken in order to reinforce the safety conditions at dam sites. Click here to access CIAE-SB’s report.
Announced on January 27, 2019, the Extraordinary Independent Consulting Committee for Investigation (CIAE-A) was constituted by the Company's Board of Directors, under the coordination of former Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gracie, dedicated to investigating the causes and responsibilities for the collapse of dam B1 at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho.
Vale's Board of Directors approved the internal regulations for the operation of the CIAE-A, which, among other points, expressly guaranteed its independent performance, with sufficient autonomy and budget allocation for the conduct of its activities. The Committee met and carried out several verification activities - such as interviews with key people to understand the event, document analysis, and visits to the site of the rupture, among others. The Committee also engaged with the authorities responsible for other related investigations and monitored the work of the various parliamentary committees established, in order to obtain relevant information from various sources. The work of the Investigation Committee was monitored by the Board of Directors and the Fiscal Council of Vale, through periodic reports.
The CIAE-A was discontinued on February 20, 2020, when the results of the work were made available to the Board of Directors and the competent authorities. Vale released the executive summary to the market to ensure accountability to society. This report contains recommendations of a technical and governance nature.
In March 2020 Vale released an implementation schedule and defined the deadlines for actions to comply with the recommendations. The Audit Committee was designated by the Board of Directors to monitor these recommendations.
It should be noted that all actions to meet the recommendations presented at the time in the CIAE-A report were concluded by 2022.