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Reparation in Mariana

On November 5, 2015, the catastrophic collapse of the Fundão dam in Mariana (Minas Gerais) released 39.2 million cubic meters of tailings into the Gualaxo do Norte River and the Doce River, affecting communities in 39 municipalities in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Nineteen people lost their lives and thousands lost their livelihoods.   

The dam was operated by Samarco, a joint venture with equal stakes owned by Vale and BHP (50/50). To lead the reparation efforts, the Renova Foundation was established in 2016 under a Transaction and Adjustment Conduct Term (or Termo de Transação e Ajustamento de Conduta – TTAC, in Portuguese). Renova is funded by Samarco, Vale, and BHP and is responsible for mobilizing efforts to repair the damages caused by the Fundão dam breach. Working through Renova and its governance bodies, Vale is committed to repairing and compensating for the impacts on society and the environment, while also improving a wide range of indicators in affected areas. 

The Renova Foundation is exclusively dedicated to the reparation process and has implemented a robust governance framework as a legal requirement to ensure the effective participation of affected parties, regulatory bodies, and public authorities at the municipal, state, and federal levels — in a disaster remediation model that was unprecedented in Brazil.  

Vale continues to deliver swift and comprehensive reparation in accordance with the relevant legal agreements and participatory governance requirements. We acknowledge that the speed of the Mariana reparation does not meet society’s expectations and have been supporting Renova to expedite this process. 

The reparation efforts in Mariana and the surrounding region have been a complex and challenging mission due to the vast areas affected by the dam breach, the diverse social, cultural, and economic characteristics of the region, the need to effectively engage stakeholders in decision-making, the licensing processes for infrastructure projects, and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As per the Transaction and Adjustment Conduct Term (TTAC), we are conducting a set of 42 social, economic and environmental reparation programs in affected territories, along a stretch of river approximately 670 km in length.

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Reparation process governance

The Transaction and Adjustment Conduct Term (TTAC) — signed in 2016 between Samarco, its shareholders Vale and BHP Billiton, the Federal Government, the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, and certain other public authorities at the federal and state levels — called for, among other measures, the establishment of the Renova Foundation.  

In 2018, a Governance Adjustment Conduct Term (Governance TAC) introducing adjustments to the governance structure was signed by the TTAC signatories, the Federal Public Prosecution Service, the State Prosecution Services of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, and public defenders offices of the Federal Government and the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. 

Samarco, Vale and BHP are jointly the sponsors of the Renova Foundation, which has governance systems in place to ensure the effective participation of representatives from regulatory agencies and the communities affected by the dam breach. The governance structure supports effective communication with and collective decision making involving all parties, including affected local communities, thematic technical chambers and regional chambers, and the Interfederative Committee (CIF) and the Board of Governors. The Foundation also has dedicated compliance and audit structures in place, along with an independent ombudsman. 

In addition to providing funding, Vale oversees Renova’s reparation efforts and has seats on the Board of Governors — Vale is entitled to appoint two trustees (and their alternates) out of the Board’s nine members, who are responsible for approving the Executive Board's proposed programs and plans. Among these is an independent member, at Vale’s request. We also nominate representatives (and their alternates) to the Supervisory Board and to the following advisory committees under the Board of Governors: Socioeconomic Committee, Socioenvironmental Committee, Engineering & Construction Committee, Legal Committee, Finance Committee, Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee, Organizational Development Committee, and Communication Committee. 

Vale employees and partners also serve in a technical and specialist capacity at Renova, including subject-matter experts, dozens of social and environmental organizations, and research institutes such as the Federal Universities of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais and universities from other countries, all supporting reparation efforts from the municipality of Mariana (MG) to the mouth of the Doce River.

Renova initiatives

Renova’s initiatives are centered on priorities to repair the impacts from the Fundão dam breach on the Doce River watershed, resettle residents, and compensate families who suffered direct losses due to the breach. These initiatives are divided into social, environmental an economic reparation programs spanning three areas of action:

People and communities

• Identification and compensation
• Education and culture
• Health and well-being
• Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities
• Engagement and dialog
• Economic development

Land and water 

• Land use
• Water management
• Tailings management
• Biodiversity 
• Animal care
• Innovation
• Forest restoration

Reconstruction and infrastructure

• Resettlement
• Tailings containment
• Water and wastewater treatment
• Urban infrastructure and access
Within the foundation’s environmental programs, data from ongoing monitoring of the Rio Doce basin indicates that water quality has been restored to conditions comparable to those before the dam collapse. The river water—classified as Class 2 Freshwater under Conama Resolution No. 357—is now suitable for human consumption after undergoing conventional treatment, and can also be used for animal watering, irrigation, and other purposes permitted under applicable laws and regulations. The water in the Doce River is monitored at more than 80 strategic stations, feeding real-time information to an alert network to facilitate planning for the main water supply systems in the basin. Monitoring data can be accessed directly on the Rio Doce Monitoring portal

In addition to reparation activities, environmental offset initiatives are underway that are delivering benefits for the entire Rio Doce basin. As part of these initiatives, Renova is restoring 40,000 hectares of forests and 5,000 springs in priority areas, collaborating with local farmers to enhance river basin conservation. 

In sanitation and waste management, Renova is providing funding to municipalities within the basin area for investments in projects and infrastructure to increase water security and minimize the discharge of untreated effluents into water resources. 

Economic reparations include compensation for affected residents, community resettlement, among other measures. Providing compensation to directly affected individuals is a core part of our reparation efforts. As of August 2023, we have paid a total of R$ 16.2 billion in compensation and financial aid to approximately 428,900 people.  

Our approach to building infrastructure for residents in affected communities follows a globally unique model in which we develop self-contained communities complete with schools, squares, and health facilities. In the Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu districts in Mariana, we have expedited the delivery of new homes through a strategy by which we aim two complete the resettlement of a significant number of families by the end of 2023. Additionally, alternative housing solutions have been offered, such as self-managed funds and Letters of Credit, which were used in the Gesteira district in Barra Longa.   

Concurrently with construction activities, we have launched initiatives supporting small businesses, with 133 restored businesses now prepared to resume operations. Economic recovery programs have benefited over 4,000 individuals through activities focused on leveraging and building on local strengths. In addition, more than 10,000 people have benefited from initiatives aimed at broadening business opportunities, while 600 farmers have received technical assistance and rural extension services to enhance yields, implement more efficient planting and animal management practices, and promote soil conservation, among other sustainable practices. 

For up-to-date data on our reparation activities, please visit the Renova Foundation website. 

Funding for Renova 

Under the Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Term, Samarco holds primary responsibility for meeting the financial commitments of the Renova Foundation. Vale and BHP bear secondary responsibility — each having a 50% proportional share — only in cases where Samarco is unable to fulfill its obligations. A breakdown of Vale’s funding contributions is provided below: 
USD millions  December 31 2022  Monetary adjustment and present value adjustment  Disbursements  Conversion adjustments September 30 2022 
Renova Foundation reparation and compensation programs 

Learn more

Renova Foundation

Stay up to date on our reparation initiatives in Mariana and the other 38 municipalities that are part of our social, economic and environmental reparation programs.