Natural Heritage

Natural Heritage
Preserving the natural patrimony is the most inexpensive and efficient environmental economics. The term natural heritage derives from the French "patrimoine naturel", the totality of natural assets, including those of historical, cultural or scenic beauty. It give us understanding the importance of natural environment: where we came from, what we do and how we will be. Our lives are connected to the landscapes of our daily lives, as well as we keep the memories of places we went. The destruction of these landscapes cause irreversible environmental damage, and are an insult to our memory, causing loss of quality of life.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION: measures taken since the day of the accident at Fundão dam burst in Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Summary of measures taken since the day of the accident

Updated on January, 12, 2016

Vale, as a shareholder in Samarco together with BHP Billiton, has acted to guarantee the integrity of the people affected by the accident involving the Fundão tailings dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais, on November 5.

Find out more about the latest measures taken:

Support for people affected by the accident

Samarco has announced that 99% of the families from Mariana and Barra Longa impacted by the accident ended 2015 in rented homes or at relatives’ homes. Accordingly, 351 of the 355 families are staying in properties furnished by the company or at relatives’ homes. Four families from Mariana (eight people) remain at hotels by their own choice. All the homes rented by the company have been equipped with furniture, home appliances, domestic utensils and bed linen and towels, preferably acquired from the region’s suppliers. Before each family moved in, the company also supplied the homes with food supplies, cleaning and personal hygiene products and drinking water.

In January, each family with missing or deceased members due to the accident will receive R$100,000 as advance compensation. Families who had to move, i.e. those who lost their homes, will be given R$20,000, and 50% of this amount will not be considered as advance compensation. This initiative is part of an agreement made with the Minas Gerais State Public Prosecution Service (MPMG) at a hearing held in Mariana on December 23, 2015, which formalizes various humanitarian aid measures.


Periodic meetings are being held with communities, the municipal, state and federal governments, the environmental authorities, the Public Prosecution Service, the Public Defender’s Office and other public authorities. The purpose of these meetings is to provide clarifications and information about Samarco’s actions, and to develop joint initiatives. Service centres have also been set up in Colatina, Linhares, Marilândia and Baixo Guandu, in the state of Espírito Santo, and in Mariana and Barra Longa, Minas Gerais. The aim of these centres is to centralize demands, questions and claims from the community, facilitating services and the tracking of solutions.

Work and income

Samarco has provided emergency financial assistance to families who have lost their income due to the accident, through the use of cards. This aid consists of a monthly payment of one minimum salary to each family, plus an extra 20% for every dependent and basic food supplies worth R$338.61 – the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIEESE)’s benchmark value for Minas Gerais. In the Doce River region, 811 fishermen and other people living near the river have received these cards.

Around 800 affected people in Mariana and Barra Longa, in Minas Gerais, have had their professional profile surveyed by Samarco’s Occupation, Work and Income team. The aim of this work is to seek to reintegrate these people into their previous functions, re-establishing their working conditions or even opening up new productive activities in line with each person’s professional profile and interest. In these same municipalities, Samarco and its partner companies have hired residents to work on renovating buildings, fencing and rehabilitating rural properties, revegetating the land, sorting donations and looking after rescued animals.

Tailings dams
Vale has carried out a detailed verification of the structural conditions of all its tailings dams. No alterations have been detected during the inspections. Our dams are monitored using instruments that provide responses in relation to their structural behaviour. The data is analyzed by geotechnical engineers, who frequently evaluate whether the instrument readings are in line with the structures’ normal operating conditions.

Tailings (mining waste)
Samarco has been monitoring the behaviour of the mud plume in the sea and it stresses that as yet there is no technical evidence that the material observed in the region of Abrolhos, in Bahia, originated from the failure of the Fundão tailings dam. The company emphasizes that the tailings from the tailings pond is not toxic. It is largely made up of silica (sand) arising from iron ore processing, and it does not contain any chemical elements harmful to health. The results of analyses Samarco commissioned from SGSGeosol Laboratórios, a company specializing in environmental and geochemical soil analysis, show that the waste from the Fundão tailings pond does not pose any danger to people or the environment. Samples were collected on November 8 near Bento Rodrigues, Monsenhor Horta, Pedras, Barretos and Barra Longa, in Minas Gerais, and they were analyzed in accordance with Brazilian standard ABNT NBR 10004:2004.

Rio Doce

A diagnosis conducted by a specialist consultancy confirms that shoals of fish continue to live along the Doce River. This study was carried out from December 3 to 11, 2015 at 215 points along the river. It also revealed that less than 1% of the river basin has been affected by the accident. Read more here.

The results of new analyses performed by the Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM) and the National Water Agency (ANA), disclosed on December 15, 2015, show that the Doce River’s water quality is compatible with the results found before the mud plume passed down the river. Reports also confirm that, following proper treatment in line with the drinking water standards established by the Health Ministry (Ordinance 2,914), the river’s water may be consumed by the population without any risks. With regard to the presence of heavy metals dissolved in the water, the levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, copper and zinc, among others, are generally similar to the results of studies carried out by CPRM in 2010.

The November 5 dam collapse released billions of gallons of tailings sludge into communities and waterways in what the government describes as the country's worst ever environmental disaster. Photo: AP
Samarco deal seen within days, says Brazil attorney general

February 4, 2016

Samarco Minercao and owners Vale and BHP Billiton are expected to "shake hands" this week with Brazilian authorities on an agreement to pay for damages from a tailings dam burst, Brazil's Attorney-General Luis Inacio Adams said in an interview.
The accord, which will be finalised later this month, will require the iron-ore joint venture to cover all costs of social and environmental programs, rather than paying a set amount of 20 billion reais that was originally sought, Adams said. The final value could end up being more or less expensive for the company, in a process that may take more than 10 years, he said.

"The value is secondary. The most important thing is to identify and pay for the necessary programs," Adams said. "This is the first step for Samarco to eventually restart operations."

Federal and local officials are holding the three companies responsible for the loss of life and environmental devastation caused when a November 5 dam collapse released billions of gallons of tailings sludge into communities and waterways in what the government describes as the country's worst ever environmental disaster.

An agreement with the operating company and its two owners would clear the way for the lifting of a ban on the transfer of mining rights preventing them from selling assets, Adams said. It could also open the possibility for Samarco to negotiate a new environmental license and resume working in the region, he said.
Samarco, Vale and BHP didn't immediately respond to emailed questions about the agreement.

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