Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Community

Mining is an activity that is directly connected to the territory where mineral resources are available, and for its realization in a sustainable manner it is essential that the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities that live or use these territories for their traditional practices are respected.

Vale works with a focus on constructive relationships, of mutual benefits, based on respect for cultural diversity and the rights of these populations, recognizing the differentiated relationship they have with the territory, which involves not only physical and socioeconomic aspects, but also cultural and spiritual.


Our relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities is guided by Vale's Global Human Rights Policy, which is aligned with the main international benchmarks related to the theme, such as the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the Equator Principles and the Positioning of the International Council on Mining and Metals on Mining and Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization, the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative, IFC Performance Standard No. 07, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the laws provided for in the countries where Vale operates.

These international principles and standards are deployed in guidelines that guide the work of the professionals responsible for the relationship with these populations, such as the application of participatory methodologies (formation of forums and/or community committees) for the process of consultation and free, prior and informed consent.
The guidelines for Vale's relationship with Indigenous Peoples are:
  • Building a Relationships of Trust and Mutual Respect for Rights and Interests;
  • Structured, Prior and Continuous Dialogue;
  • Training of employees, third parties and service providers;
  • Contribution to the ethno-development of these populations;
  • Respect and promotion of rights, cultures, customs, heritage and the livelihood of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities.
  • Consider in the planning of the relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities the characterization of communities and the analysis of stakeholders (matrix of stakeholders), based on available information, external and internal sources, of the territory and of the peoples and communities, such as ethnographic and socio-environmental studies, theses and/or publications, existing and/or completed relationship plan, socio-environmental investments, lawsuits and/or settlements;
  • Implement a structured and continuous process of dialogue with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities located in the areas of influence of Vale's projects, observing the specificities of these populations and their social and political organization, using appropriate forms of communication, language and time;
  • Plan, prepare and implement studies and programs for mitigation and/or compensation of the impacts of the projects, enabling active participation, and gender and generational representativeness of Indigenous Peoples and Communities, respecting their different forms of social and political organization, as well as carrying out the monitoring of these programs with a view to evaluating, conducting the necessary adjustments to, and reporting to official authorities the results;
  • Adopt an integrated view of the territories, with a view to identifying and mitigating potential impacts, including the various activities of Vale and the Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities inserted there, considering that the relationship between these communities and their territories involves not only physical and socioeconomic aspects, but also cultural and cosmological aspects;
  • Encourage the active participation of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities in resolving issues related to Vale's activities, which generate risks and/or impacts on these populations, allowing free, prior and informed consultation and consent, as well as monitoring compliance with measures of control and/or mitigation;
  • Encourage the creation of management committees, boards or other types of governance mechanisms, respecting their specificities and ensuring, whenever possible, gender and generational representativeness, which enable the effective participation of these populations in building joint solutions to address risks and impacts, and generate a positive legacy for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities, and monitor these actions;
  • Document the consultation process and prior, free and informed consent, as well as the decisions made in participatory forums and committees, ensuring the transparency of the participatory and/or decision-making process and the maintenance of Vale's activities;
  • Act so that Vale's commitments to these populations are aligned with the relationship guidelines, and that they contribute to the consolidation of rights to socio-cultural diversity, environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, aiming at the ethno-development of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities with which Vale interacts;
  • Use and improve the approaches, assessment and monitoring tools for management of Relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities;
  • Disclose Vale's response and listening channels to Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities, including contacts with Community Relations professionals, ensuring the registration of all demands in the appropriate tool (SDI), their management, and response to communities according to deadlines established in the current policies and/or agreed with the communities;
  • Make sure that unresolved demands are addressed, through available governance and that, if they are not solved, they are escalated to higher decision-making levels;
  • Periodically evaluate the perception of the relationship between Vale and Traditional Peoples and/or communities, through research in a format and language appropriate to these populations, enabling a process of continuous improvement;
  • In the event of conflict of interests that escalates to a potential crisis or conflict, exhaust all dialogue alternatives, guide the projects, and collaborate with the other professionals involved, ensuring that there is no violation of human rights of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities.
  • Establish dialogue with governmental and non-governmental institutions, which represent the rights and interests of these populations, supporting Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities in accessing them, whenever possible;
Internal references
Where we work

We have relationships with 26 Indigenous Peoples groups and 57 Traditional Communities in different countries. In Brazil, where most of our activities are located, we relate to 13 groups of the following Indigenous Peoples:

Pará: Gavião, Xikrin do Cateté and Kayapó;
Maranhão: Awá, Guajajara and Ka’apor
Minas Gerais: Krenak, Pataxó and Pataxó Hã-hã-hae;
Espírito Santo: Tupiniquim and Guarani;
57 Traditional Communities in Brazil:
29 quilombola communities in the states of Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro;
04 groups of Artisanal Fishermen in the state of Rio de Janeiro;
01 "Calon Gypsy Community of Santa Bárbara" in Minas Gerais;
23 groups of coconut breakers in the states of Maranhão and Mato Grosso do Sul.
In Canada, where the operations are over 100 years old, Vale has a relationship with:
Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu Nation and Nunatsiavut Government
Sudbury: Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Wahnapitae First Nation and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation
Vale defined as one of its pillars of strategic planning, “expanding engagement in the indigenous agenda”, through specific actions focused on the registration and valuation of indigenous culture, strengthening and leading these populations and in sustainable programs.

Our Management

Vale incorporates the theme of indigenous and traditional communities in a transversal way in the various management processes of the company, seeking to improve the qualification of the relationship with the communities, the training of its own employees and third parties and the use of tools that enable prior planning, sustainable management of the company's business and, above all, respect for the rights of these populations.
In addition to the risk and impact management processes, voluntary programs and agreements are implemented, built in a participatory manner with these populations, considering their cultural and territorial specificities, favoring a solid relationship of partnership and trust.
The relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities is conducted by anthropologists and professionals with indigenous experience, dedicated to acting in the territories and to the permanent relationship with these populations.
These professionals maintain a routine of engagement with the communities, respecting their customs, social and political organization, and acting as channels within the scope of the company’s Listening and Response Mechanism (Grievance). Communities also have access to the other available channels as shown below.

See here the list of listening channels and responses provided by Vale

  • Alô Ferrovia: 0800-285-7000.
  • Reparation channels: Toll-free via the Repair Service Center portal (0800-0310831) and Indemnities (08008881182).
  • Contact us:
  • Ethics and Conduct Channel: Toll-free via phone, e-mail and electronic form or personally guaranteeing anonymity.
We also have the assistance of specialized consultants to improve our dialogue practices with these populations, as well as in the preparation of studies and programs / projects to be implemented by the company with these populations.
To support this relationship process with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities, we use a management model that includes:
  • Studies and assessments of risks and impacts,
  • Programs and projects for impact management, 
  • Relationship management: listening, response and interaction mechanisms;
  • Risk Management;
  • Training programs;
  • Management of routine engagement with indigenous peoples and traditional communities;
  • Voluntary Social Investment.
Click here to better understand how we are developing our environmental, social, and governance strategy and commitments.
Get to know our Vale's ESG Gaps Action Plan and the actions that are already underway for community development.

KPI Report

The relationship with Indigenous Peoples is part of the main KPIs of the company, which include indicators associated with the process of repairing the rupture of the Córrego do Feijão dam in Brumadinho/Minas Gerais, the expansion of engagement with communities, the formalization of long-term agreements , the environmental licensing processes of strategic undertakings for the company and initiatives to support the ethno-development of these populations.

Risk Vision

After the breach of the Córrego do Feijão dam, in Minas Gerais (Brazil), many processes were revised and improved. These include risk management, with the formal inclusion of the topic in Vale's business risk map. This process will make it possible to improve preventive and mitigating controls associated with risks to Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities.

Goals and Deadlines

In 2020, the relationship process with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities was standardized through an Internal Management Procedure for Brazil. As of 2021, the global standardization of the theme and other fronts such as:
  • Implement the global process of integrated management of the relationship with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities;
  • Expand engagement with Indigenous Peoples and support for ethno-development actions;
  • Establish long-term agreements, with mutual benefits and respect for the specificities of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities with which we relate;
  • Strengthen risk and impact management processes;
  • Expand the coverage of training programs for employees and contractors.


For the future, the company's main challenge will be to contribute to the institutional strengthening and autonomy of indigenous peoples and traditional communities with which we relate, diversifying investments in voluntary agreements, supporting initiatives for the rescue and cultural valorization, preservation of memory and protagonism these populations.

Positive legacy

Throughout the business chain, Vale seeks to focus on long-term and shared value with Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities. A good example is the bioconstruction project performed in compliance with the environmental conditions of the duplication work on the Carajás Railway (EFC), within the scope of the Basic Environmental Plan for the Indigenous Component (PBACI) of the Awá and Guajajara peoples of the Caru and Indigenous Lands Pindaré River, in the state of Maranhão (Brazil).
Bioconstruction is based on concepts consistent with ecological thinking, seeking low environmental impact techniques and solutions for the preservation of natural resources and health. Thus, one of the fundamental parts for the success of this work was the fusion of the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people with the bioconstruction techniques of three Cultural Centers, two Conversation Houses, six Traditional Kitchens and 11 model houses. Changing the way of manufacturing natural material allowed the implementation of techniques already used by these communities with new ways of working with natural material, as an example of Adobe for the execution of masonry.
Beginning in 2017, the project was thought and conducted collectively, listening and opening space for the involvement of indigenous communities in all stages of the process, from the stage of preparing the project, to the choice of the implantation site and the natural materials. Its objective was to offer a community space for holding parties, rituals, workshops on traditional practical knowledge, meetings and other purposes defined by indigenous communities.
To carry out this project we have the support of the TIBA Arquitetos office and the Instituto Sociedade, População e Natureza - ISPN, implementer of PBACI, responsible for the acquisition of the equipment of these constructions.

Click here and see the photos of the project

Tradicional ktichen – Novo Planeta Village

Conversation House – Awá Village 

Model house

Cultural Center – Maçaranduba Village

Redario -Nova Samyã Village

Tradicional kitchen – Nova Samyã 

In addition to Brazil, in Newfoundland, Canada, Vale partners with the Canadian government and others through the Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership, to develop skills and training opportunities for hiring. This program helps more than 400 indigenous participants in Labrador, with an opportunity to work at the Voisey’s Bay mine. Voisey’s Bay also introduced a Program called Job Readiness Training, in order to qualify aborigines to enter the labor market.

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