Mining operations are intrinsically linked to land where mineral resources are available and to the communities living in these areas. Given Vale's global presence, we interact with a wide range of communities—including indigenous and traditional groups—across various countries, with the majority located in Brazil.
Worldwide, Vale interacts with over 1,500 local communities—with more than 75% of these located in Brazil (1,156). The remaining 25% are in Canada (82), the Andes (52 in Chile and Peru), Indonesia (206), Malaysia (6), Oman (28), and the UK (2). Of these, 165 are considered a priority for engagement in Brazil.
Community engagement is a strategic process through which we share information about our projects and their potential risks and impacts, and gauge communities’ perspectives and incorporate them into our decision-making processes. These practices are essential in fostering respect and trust, positive interaction and value-sharing between us and our communities.
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Vale is committed to respecting the rights of these communities and complying with all legal obligations. This includes ensuring access to information and conducting preliminary meetings for both brownfield and greenfield projects. We believe that through active stakeholder engagement and participation, we can not only improve our processes and decisions but also amplify positive impacts while effectively managing risks and mitigating negative impacts on our communities.
Community Engagement Plans
Vale provides channels for structured dialogue to inform the development of Community Engagement Plans. These plans encourage community participation in collaboratively defining and prioritizing local initiatives. Engagement plans support shared responsibility among the company, the community, and other stakeholders, working towards common goals.
Community engagement teams actively monitor these plans through a systematic process of participatory meetings to assess implementation, alignment with goals, and outcomes. Monitoring results are documented in Vale's Stakeholders, Demands, and Issues (SDI) System.
Vale’s plan-building methodology uses approaches and participation tools tailored to the needs of each community and region as identified in participatory assessments. Community initiatives are defined based on the needs identified by the stakeholders involved in the process. Engagement plans also reflect the maturity status of our relationship with the community.
Local Community and Engagement Plans
Note: Indigenous and traditional communities not included
Prioritization methodology for Brazil
In Brazil, we continuously refine our approach to engagement using a prioritization methodology that reflects communities’ individual needs and characteristics. The methodology is based on assessment of risk, impact, and engagement.
Engagement Plans support us in monitoring and managing our relationships with communities; inform decision-making; optimize effort and resource efficiency by taking into account the voices and needs of communities; and enable us to identify gaps in our initiatives.
In 2021 and 2022, we implemented a total of 431 Community Engagement Plans in Brazil. Furthermore, 78% of priority communities were served by Engagement Plans. We have set a target to reach 100% coverage of priority communities by 2026. Almost half of the initiatives under these plans—all identified and prioritized in collaboration with communities—focus on employment and income-related initiatives. These are followed by activities in education, support for local charities, environmental initiatives, and others.
Breakdown of projects in Brazil in 2022
Source: Data compiled from the Stakeholders, Demands, and Issues (SDI) System in November 2022.
Note: Engagement Plans being implemented throughout 2021 and 2022. Indigenous and traditional
% of Prionity Communities with Relationship Plans in2022
% of Priority Communities with Relationship Plans in2026
Initiatives with community participation
One example of our approach to stakeholder engagement and social investment is Sitinho, a rural community near São Luís (MA) that is home to 250 families who are reliant on government welfare, sporadic employment, and informal work. The community suffers from a high level of vulnerability and social risk, compounded by communication challenges and limited access to public transportation and urban amenities.
Vale supports this community through a local management committee established to decide on and oversee initiatives based on identified needs. Initiatives already completed or in progress include the construction of a pedestrian bridge to ensure safe passage over the Carajás Railway, construction of a recreational and fitness facility, and road improvements including asphalt paving, better lighting, and improved public safety.
One of the standout initiatives in this community is Sitinho Empreendedor, a project launched in 2018 to provide employment and income opportunities for women in the community through buriti fiber crafts. Significant outcomes during the first years of the project include the establishment of a production workshop and provision of sales support; a 10% increase in sales income; female empowerment; strengthened family, social, and community bonds through cooperative activities; and the launch of a collection of buriti fiber handbags.
Since 2017, Vale has supported a project created to empower and train women to capture employment and income opportunities in the city of Canaã dos Carajás (PA). This initiative not only enhances gender equality but also fosters entrepreneurship and cooperative efforts that help to tackle the challenges faced by women in their professional and personal lives.
Initially launched to support 20 women from Vila Bom Jesus, the project has since expanded to include five additional groups in different communities. Currently, it involves over 90 women organized into six workshops. Approximately 80% of these women had never received any form of training, and 95% had no source of income. Many have emphasized the importance of the project for learning, motivation, and feeling more valued by family and friends.
The project offers training in traditional and creative sewing, painting, embroidery, and various other forms of earning a livelihood, and provides cooperative workspaces equipped with infrastructure and supplies for crafts. The articles produced are sold to both the public sector and local businesses.
With Vale's support, these groups have now been formalized as registered entities, enabling them to sell their products, issue invoices, and formalize their services. In addition to the training sessions, we organize engagement and integration meetings that address challenges and opportunities in business management.
In 2019, Vale launched an Engagement and Social Investment Plan for communities in Aparecida, a district also known as “Morro de Aparecida,” in Cariacica (ES). The plan currently comprises 405 projects directly benefiting nearly 1.5 million people.
Vale engages with these communities through representative groups that help to identify the priority needs of residents. Key initiatives include vocational training courses in partnership with the Brazilian Industrial Training Service (SENAI), delivered through its Trilha das Profissões (“Vocational Pathway”) project, and renovations at the resident association building.
In the early stages of the project, efforts were focused on registering the residents’ association, along with planning discussions within the communities on topics such as rights and responsibilities; management, maintenance, and sustainability of the community center; partnership strategies; and the implementation of a community initiative.
Vale is committed to supporting the development of communities surrounding our operational sites through social and environmental investments, with a particular focus on education. One example is our Youth Empowerment Program in Manjung, Malaysia, which supports neurodiverse education by improving teaching facilities and aiding the development of neurodivergent children and adolescents in the local community.
To engage the community around this initiative, Vale conducted a participatory process with community members to discuss how the program could improve the Education Center’s infrastructure to deliver better-quality education for students.
As of 2021, the project had benefited 18 neurodivergent children, improving their cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor function and developing skills needed for everyday life.
Ensuring community safety
Our approach to managing impacts in other dimensions (occupational health and safety, environment, and process safety) is extended to our communities with the same level of commitment and dedication.
As part of our risk management practices and commitment to community safety, any required involuntary resettlement follows a well-established process and international best-practice standards.
We recognize the importance of fostering open and transparent communication and engaging with communities, addressing their inquiries, and receiving and handling complaints and requests. We have a robust structure in place to receive and address stakeholder concerns.
Private social investment
Vale runs an ecosystem of organizations dedicated to initiatives spanning health, education, infrastructure, science, culture, biodiversity conservation, and other high-impact initiatives.