International Open Letter of Those Affected by ValePublished by MAC on 2010-05-01
Source: Statement (2010-04-15)
The declaration below is one of the outcomes of the First International Meeting of People, Communities and Workers affected by the predatory policies of Vale that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from April 12 to 15, 2010.
International Open Letter of Those Affected by Vale
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - We, more than 160 participants from 80 organizations, unions and social movements from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Germany, France, Italy, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Peru and Taiwan gathered from April 12 to 15, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro for the First International Meeting of People, Communities and Workers affected by the aggressive and predatory policies of Vale.
Vale's advertising reminds us every day that it is a Brazilian company and that it works with "passion" to promote "sustainable development" internationally, to ensure a good future for our children. In its commercials it uses images of people of renown and celebrities. However, in this International Meeting, we have ascertained that it is a transnational company, which works exclusively in favour of its shareholders and of big capital. We want to make public that Vale infringes human rights, exploits both male and female workers, imposes precarious working conditions, destroys nature and disrespects traditional communities, outlying urban neighbourhoods and unionists.
Testimonies show the resistance and advances made by workers and communities that experience Vale's long-term mining projects situated in places such as: Barcarena, Marabá and Parauapebas in Pará State, and in Açailândia and São Luís in Maranhão State (Carajás Axis); Sudbury, Voisey's Bay, Thompson and Port Colborne in Canada; nickel mines in New Caledonia and Indonesia; iron ore mines in Itabira and Congonhas, and the hydroelectric power plant in Aimorés, Minas Gerais State; the steel mill in Anchieta, Espírito Santo State; and Companhia Siderúrgica do Atlântico - TKCSA in Rio de Janeiro State. Other struggles opposing the implementation of projects or fighting against the execution of projects include: the Pecém steel complex in Ceará State; the thermoelectric power plant of Barcarena in Pará State; Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul State; the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant in Pará State; the Rio Colorado Project in Argentina; the dumping of waste in Sandy Pond, Newfoundland, Canada; Serra do Gandarela and Capão Xavier in Minas Gerais State; twelve new mining projects in Bahia State; Canaã dos Carajás and Ourilândia in Pará State; the Tres Valles Project in Chile; projects in Cajamarca and San Martin de Sechura in Peru; and the Moatize coal mine in Mozambique.
The life of communities and workers and the wellbeing of the planet as a whole should prevail over the limitless profits of transnational companies. Hiding behind a fake green and yellow image, Vale destroys and kills ecosystems and entire communities. We have gathered here because we believe in life and in living well. We have gathered here because we resist. We have gathered here because nature's resources should belong to the people. We have gathered here because we believe in humanity and in its capacity to fight.
From this moment on, we will strengthen our efforts to monitor and denounce every step this company takes, broadening our resistance and our struggle, building alternatives to this exploitative and predatory model. Hence, we call upon the communities that are suffering the consequences of big mining projects, civil society, Vale workers - men and women -, social movements and organizations, church groups, students and teachers to join us and take part in the construction of this new moment in the international struggle against Vale.
WORKERS EXPLOITED, FAMILIES DISPLACED, NATURE DESTROYED ...
IS THIS FAIR ?
GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE !
ADUFRJ - Seção Sindical BRAZIL
Agence Kanak de Développement New Caledonia
Agrupación Defensa Valle Chalinga Chile
Amigos da Terra Brasil / Casa - Centro de Apoio Sócio-ambiental BRAZIL
Associação em Defesa de Reclamantes e Vitimados por Doença do Trabalho na Cadeia Produtiva de Alumínio e Mineração BRAZIL
Asamblea Popular por el Agua Argentina
Associação Comunitária de Apoio e Assistência jurídica Mozambique
Associação de Lavradores da Colônia Santa Rita BRAZIL
Assembléia Popular BRAZIL
Associação de Advogados de Trabalhadores Rurais - AATR BRAZIL
Associação de Moradores da Chapada do Á BRAZIL
Associação de Moradores de Belo Horizonte BRAZIL
Associação de Moradores de Chapada BRAZIL
Associação de Moradores de Piquia BRAZIL
Associação de Moradores de Ubu Anchieta BRAZIL
Associação de Pescadores e Moradores de Ubá - Anchieta BRAZIL
Associação dos Moradores do Porto BRAZIL
Associação Movimento Paulo Jackson - Ética, Justiça e Cidadania BRAZIL
Baia de Sepetiba pede Socorro (Comitê) BRAZIL
Centro de Apoio e Pesquisa ao Pescador BRAZIL
Centro para a Integridade Política Mozambique
CNTSM - Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores do Setor Mineral BRAZIL
Colectivo Comunal de Reflexos Sechura Peru
Comissão Pastoral da Terra BRAZIL
Comité de Defensa Valle Chuchiñi Chile
Comuna Verde BRAZIL
Comunidade do Curupere - Vila do Conde BRAZIL
Comunidade Congonhas BRAZIL
Comunidad Campesina San Martin de Sechura Peru
Consulta Popular BRAZIL
CPT Bahia BRAZIL
Desenvolvimento e Paz Canada
ECOA - Ecologia e Ação BRAZIL
FIAN - Rede de Informação e Ação pelo Direito a se Alimentar BRAZIL
Fórum Carajás BRAZIL
Frente Defensa Cuenca Rio Cajamarquino Peru
Fundação Open Society - Angola BRAZIL
Gambá - Grupo Ambientalista da Bahia BRAZIL
Gesta - UFMG BRAZIL
GRUFIDES - Grupo de Formación e Intervención para El Desarollo Sostenible Peru
Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas Trabalho e Sociedade (GEPTS) / UFMA BRAZIL
Grupo de Estudos sobre Mineração / Pós-graduação UFRJ BRAZIL
Grupo de Estudos: Desenvolvimento, Modernidade e Meio Ambiente (GEDMMA / UFMA) BRAZIL
IEB - Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil BRAZIL
Instituto Rosa Luxemburgo BRAZIL
Justiça Global BRAZIL
Justiça nos Trilhos Italy
Kobra / FDCL Germany
Liga de Justiça Ambiental Mozambique
MAB - Movimentos dos Atingidos por Barragens BRAZIL
Mines and Communities
MiningWatch Canadá Canada
Missionários Combonianos de Salvador BRAZIL
Movimento pelas Serras e Águas de Minas BRAZIL
MST - Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra BRAZIL
MTD - Movimento dos Trabalhadores Desempregados BRAZIL
NINJA (Núcleo de Investigação em Justiça Ambiental) BRAZIL
Núcleo Piratininga de Comunicação BRAZIL
Núcleo Tramas - Univ. Federal do Ceará BRAZIL
Observatório Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales - OLCA Chile
OCMAL - Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros em America Latina Ecuador
Organização Indígena do Ceará (Anacé) BRAZIL
Organización Ambiental de Salamanca - OCAS Chile
Pastoral do menor BRAZIL
PCB (Partido Comunista Brasileiro) BRAZIL
PPGSA /IFCS/ UFRJ BRAZIL
Presidente Associação de Moradores - Comunidade Antonio Maria Coelho BRAZIL
Rede Alerta Contra o deserto Verde BRAZIL
Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais BRAZIL
Rede Comuna Verde - GAMA BRAZIL
Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos BRAZIL
Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental BRAZIL
Red de Organizaciones Sociales de La Província Del Choapa Chile
Salve a Selva BRAZIL / Germany
Sindicato dos trabalhadores e trabalhadoras rurais - STTR BRAZIL
Sindicato dos trabalhadores Ferroviários MA, PA e TO / CUT-MA BRAZIL
Sindicato Metabase - Congonhas - MG BRAZIL
Sindicato Metabase - Itabira - MG BRAZIL
Sindimina - RJ BRAZIL
SINTEPP - Sindicato dos Trabalhadores em Educação Pública do Pará BRAZIL
Sinticim - Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Indústria de Construção Civil, Madeira e Minas de Moçambique Mozambique
Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos - SMDH BRAZIL
Sociedade Paraense de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos - SDDH BRAZIL
Terra de Direitos BRAZIL
UNAC (União Nacional de Camponeses) Mozambique
United Steelworkers, Canadian National Office
USW Local 6500 Sudbury
USW Local 6200 Port Colborne
USW Local 9508 Voisey's Bay Canada
Via Campesina Brasil BRAZIL
Dossier on Vale's Global Impacts and Violations
Organized And Produced by the Organizations Attending the First International Meeting of those Affected by Vale
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What is the dossier?
This is a preliminary dossier that has resulted from a broad and ongoing effort carried out by the group of organizations attending the First International Meeting of Those Affected by Vale. The objective of this meeting is to organize and consolidate a network of social movements and labour union organizations and federations of various countries, including populations, communities and workers whose ways of life and rights have been affected by the company's activities, and to make this network capable of implementing collective strategies to face up to this company globally. This document intends to record the strategies implemented by Vale when it begins operations in a specific territory, but from the standpoint of the affected communities, workers and/or human rights and environmental groups from civil society.
The dossier was written collectively and by local groups. Of course, the organizations are different in nature and have different concerns, know-how and interests. We gave priority to the views of local social stakeholders and to their local processes at the expense of scientific and technical rigor, which would not be consistent with the goal of empowering these local players.
The purpose of this document is also to enhance the visibility of the "other side" of Vale's projects, which greatly differs from the image of success, sustainable development, community support and social redistribution of dividends that the company so actively publicizes. Although not all the places where Vale operates are included in this dossier, it does show paradigmatic cases that will enable those affected by the company to coordinate their actions globally. This in itself is an innovation and a mechanism to break away from specific circumstances and fragmentation, thus bringing together unions, human rights groups, lawyers, social movements and environmentalists, among others. In addition, it enables these groups to enhance the visibility of violation reports and engage more actively in dialogue with Brazilian society as a whole. Lastly, it allows one to question the symbolic image that Vale has built, portraying itself before the general public as a genuinely Brazilian company whose exploration activities provide nothing but benefits to the country. By questioning this image, those affected by the company may undermine the notion of national pride based on the false premise of a "Vale that belongs to all Brazilians".
What is Vale?
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, currently named Vale S.A., was founded in 1942 as a Brazilian State-owned company. It was privatized by means of an auction held in April 1997, an operation that is questioned in the Brazilian Justice system to this day.
In 2009, Vale produced 265 million tons of ore and transported 21 million tons of third-party products on its railways. Its gross revenue reached US$ 23.9 billion and its net profit amounted to US$ 5.3 billion.
Ferrous minerals accounted for 61.6% of its revenue, followed by nickel (13.6%), alumina (5%), copper (4.7%), logistics services (4.6%) and aluminium (3.6%).
Since privatization, the company has had profits of US$ 49.2 billion, of which US$ 13.4 billion were distributed to its shareholders. Over the last 10 years, it was the fourth most profitable among large companies, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
On January 25, 2010, it had a market value of US$ 139.2 billion, making it the 24th largest company in the world, according to the Financial Times.
Vale is currently present in over 30 countries, as may be seen below:
Vale is controlled by the Valepar S.A. partnership, which holds 53.3% of the voting capital (33.6% of total capital). The next largest stake is owned by the Brazilian Government, with 6.8%, followed by various other investors, each with under 5% of the shares (13.3% Brazilian; 26.6% foreign).
Valepar has the following share-owning makeup: the Previ pension fund, by virtue of its association with Litel Participações S.A., holds 39% of the shares; Bradespar S.A. (an association of investors linked to the Bradesco banking group) holds 21.21%; Japanese steelmaker Mitsui & Co. Ltd., holds 18.24%; Brazilian pension funds Petros, Funcef and Fundação Cesp, through their association with Litel Participações S.A., possess 10%, and the Brazilian Government, with 11.51%. Furthermore, the Brazilian Government holds so-called "golden shares", which allow it a veto power over certain decisions.
Impacts and Violations
The company's more aggressive profile after privatization intensified the social and environmental conflicts caused by its operations.
In 2008, Vale produced 346 million tons of ore, whilst in 1997 the figure was around 113 million tons.
In 2008, its mineral production generated 657 million tons of mineral-metallurgical waste that had to be stocked in tailings piles and dams, with the possibility of contamination of water sources. For every useful ton produced, 1.89 tons of mineral-metallurgical waste resulted.
Beyond such waste, in 2008, 487,000 tons of other residues were produced, including metallic, construction and domestic waste, among others.
Vale's railways caused accidents leading to the death or serious injury of 23 people in 2007, as well as impacting the communities along their path, with animals hit, noise and the interruption of the local movement of people and vehicles, in the absence of pedestrian overpasses and level crossings.
In its operations, Vale consumed 335 million cubic metres of water in 2008, and was responsible for discharging into the environment 1,562 cubic metres of brine, alcohol, hydrocarbons and other pollutants.
That same year, its operations impacted an area of 82.8 square kilometres, of which 57.5 square kilometres of Amazon forest. Of the total area impacted, just 44.2 square kilometres are being wholly or partly rehabilitated.
Vale reported the emission of 16.8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere in 2008. This is a particularly sensitive issue as it relates to global warming, for beyond the high volumes of CO2 emitted directly by the company, the minerals sold by it result in annual emissions of more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide when processed by its customers.
In 2008, there were 2,860 workplace accidents leading to workers going on leave; 9 workers died.
There were 140 cases of corruption registered in 2008.
Accounting provisions for civil, environmental and labour contingencies increased from some US$ 76 million in 1997 to just over US$ 1 billion in September 2009.
Cases in Brazil
I - Vale's birthplace: Minas Gerais State
The Capão Xavier Mine
The implementation of the project led to the elimination of a top priority area for biodiversity preservation, and the expansion of the mine has put archaeological caves and other sites at risk. Social movements engaged in defending Capão Xavier together with the State Public Prosecution Service filed a public-interest civil suit in May 2004, with a "claim for interlocutory relief coupled with administrative improbity" against the State of Minas Gerais, MBR, Fernando Damata Pimentel, mayor of the city of Belo Horizonte, and Inácio Pereira Garda Júnior, Regional Manager of the Minas Gerais State Institute of Forests (IEF). This case was also reported to the UN in August 2004 in a Public Hearing in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Minas Gerais, with the support of the Human Rights and Environment Committees.
The Apolo Project at Serra da Gandarela
Serra da Gandarela is a mountain range located in the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte (MABH), within an environmental protection area. Vale extracts iron ore in this region. The company's production capacity was expanded in 2008 by means of the acquisition of Mineração Apolo mining company, which increased Vale's iron ore reserves to almost 1 billion tons in the so-called Iron Quadrilateral region of the State of Minas Gerais. The Apolo Project includes opening a mine with a production capacity of 24 million tons of iron ore per year and building processing plants in the cities of Caeté and Santa Bárbara, in the Central Region of the state. The negative impacts are many: misuse of water resources and deterioration of water quality, destruction of vegetation, invasion of Environmental Protection Areas (EPAs) and emission of pollutants.
Report by Metabase
Vale's financial results show that the company is in good shape. However, the crisis is used to justify the dismissal of employees and elimination of labour rights. Since the beginning of the world economic crisis, Vale has fired nearly 1,500 company employees and 12,000 outsourced workers, out of a total of 120,000 workers worldwide, half of whom are outsourced labour. The fear caused by the company's constant personnel cutbacks has generated a feeling of distress among all employees and has already led to the suicide of a worker in Itabira, on May 16, 2009. Meanwhile, the company continues to yield extremely high dividends for it shareholders.
II - Carajás (Pará and Maranhão states)
Canaã dos Carajás, Paraupebas and Marabá, Pará State
Vale has announced five projects that directly affect the socioeconomic and environmental conditions of the municipality of Canaã dos Carajás. The communities of Paraupebas are being driven out of their homes and their lives are suffering severe impacts because of infrastructure works carried out to implement the Salobo project for the extraction and processing of copper ore. Vale sells iron ore and transports all the pig iron produced by 8 factories located in the municipality of Marabá and by 8 other factories operating in the towns of Açailândia, Santa Inês and Rosário, in the state of Maranhão. Some of the impacts include pollution of streams, destruction of water springs, deforestation, elimination of jobs, deterioration of the quality of life, a rise in prostitution (especially of children), noise pollution and the rising incidence of disease.
Industrial District of Piquiá in the Pig Iron Hub of Açailândia, Maranhão State
Vale has a charcoal plant with 71 highly polluting industrial retorts in the municipality of Açailandia. In addition, there are currently five steelworks operating in the municipality of Piquiá. All this steel production chain is fed by the ore produced by Vale, which is the sole supplier of these five steelworks. The impacts of the steel industry hub in Piquiá may be divided into two major groups. The first is related to the previous stages of the steel production chain, i.e., impacts related to logistics, such as those caused by the railroad, and to the production of raw material for steel production, such as charcoal. The second group includes the negative impacts of the steel production process itself on the population.
The retorts of Califórnia - Açailândia, Maranhão State
The Ferro Gusa Carajás (FGC) project was implemented in 2005, in the municipality of Açailândia, beside the 13-year old Califórnia settlement with over 1,800 inhabitants. The company, which is controlled by Vale, produces charcoal to feed Vale's steel plant in Marabá. This project is known as the Reducer Production Unit (UPR2), which produces charcoal for steelworks. The dwellers of the settlement suffer because of the company's activities and are forced to breathe the fumes that come out of the plant's chimneys every day.
Pelletizing Plant, Steel Industry Hub and Port - São Luís, Maranhão State
Vale is expanding the port of Ponta da Madeira in the municipality of São Luís. This is part of a broader project that intends to double the capacity of the entire export supply chain of ore (new mines and double the length of railways). This expansion project is obtaining fragmented environmental permits and will lead to a strong increase in pollution and to severe social and environmental impacts along the Carajás corridor.
Over the past years, Vale has being trying to implement large steel industry projects in the capital of the state of Maranhão. The intended production for the São Luís Steel Industry Hub is estimated to produce a yearly emission of 35.6 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the single major cause of the greenhouse effect. In addition to the environmental hazards, the social impact is also expected to be severe. In fact, 14,400 people from 11 rural communities in the area would be displaced, thus losing both their homes and livelihoods. Popular resistance in the city of São Luís was able to halt this set of projects up to 2009, when Vale changed its plans and relocated its projects to the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro.
Aluminium Production Chain - Industrial District of Barcarena, Pará State
The production of alumina and aluminium by the Alunorte and Albrás subsidiaries has caused significant impacts on the municipality of Barcarena because of pollutant emissions and, above all, because of accidents.
The alumina and aluminium production process of the Vale group companies has led to severe air pollution because of the emission of caustic gases and corrosive dust. Sulphur dioxide and trioxide are released into the air.
III - Vale in Sepetiba Bay, Rio de Janeiro State - Companhia Siderúrgica do Atlântico (TKCSA)
Vale is a minority shareholder (26.6%) of a joint venture with ThyssenKrupp to build the Companhia Siderúrgica do Atlântico (TKCSA) plant, which is planned to produce 5.5 million tons of steel plates per year, using Colombian coal (4 million tons a year). It is located in the municipality of Itaguaí.
Once operational, TKCSA will emit 273,600 tons of pollutants per year, especially carbon monoxide (229,758 tons) and sulphur dioxide (21,540 tons). In addition to the emission of pollutants, the plant will generate 1.3 million tons of blast furnace slag and 382,000 tons of melt shop slag annually. The Environmental Impact Assessment is suspected to have underestimated pollutant concentrations owing to the use of incomplete data on potential down-time. Furthermore, there are reports that the company is hiring gunmen (paramilitary groups) who are threatening all those who oppose the project.
IV - Production of Alloy Iron by Vale in Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul State
The exploration of ore deposits in the Urucum hills dried up the main supply of water in the region, which is the Urucum stream. Since 2002, Vale has been facing two lawsuits for burying the spring of the Urucum stream, after an explosion that occurred during mining activities for the extraction of manganese. Specialist reports were conclusive and hold the mining company responsible for the damage. However, Vale has appealed to a higher court every time it is sentenced. This environmental disaster has affected the lives of 138 families, most of which have sold their land to the mining company and moved to other regions. Those who have remained constantly suffer because of water shortages and rationing, as the water supply is controlled by the mining company.
V - Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém, Ceará State
Vale has been trying to install a steelworks in the state of Ceará since 2005. According to the company, the plant will have a steel plate production capacity of 3 to 6 million tons per year. It plans to have an initial capacity of 3 million tons by 2013, which will be doubled by 2015. Ever since the construction of the Industrial and Port Complex of Pecém (CIPP) was authorized in 1996, nearly one hundred indigenous Anacé families that lived in the municipalities of São Gonçalo do Amarante and Caucaia, on the coast of the state of Ceará, have been forced to leave their traditional lands, and other families are likely to follow once Vale starts building the industrial complex.
VI - Impacts of Vale's Operations in Chile
Companhia Mineradora Latino-Americana, Vale's branch in Chile, operates in the communities of Illapel and Salamanca. The project currently under implementation consists in extracting copper ore to supply a processing plant with a capacity of 5,000 tons per day. Such operations will have numerous impacts on the local population.
VII - Vale in Argentina: Conflict at the Rio Colorado Potassium Project
The project is situated south of Malargüe. The ore extracted is dissolved and pumped. The project is meant to meet the rapidly growing international market demand for fertilizers. The operation will impact a river basin with some 25,000 inhabitants, destroying a significant part of its flora and fauna, with a high risk of salinating the Colorado River, the main source of fresh water in this part of the country.
VIII - Vale in Cajamarca (Peru)
In 2003, Miski Mayou, Vale's subsidiary, started a mining project in Cajamarca. In 2006, the Cajamarca regional government's Sustainable Environmental Management Commission carried out an inspection and found armed militia within the mining site, a clear ‘muscle' strategy on the part of the company that infringes community rights. As a consequence of protests against the company, various leaders of social organizations and movements have been criminalized and persecuted.
IX - Vale's Offensive in Canada
The history of Vale in Canada is the history of workers' resistance against the power of globalized capital. Since July 2009, the miners' union, the United Steelworkers, consisting of approximately 3,500 workers in 3 Canadian communities, have remained on strike against Vale Inco. The company, using the world crisis as an excuse, has been trying to reduce or abolish important rights of these Canadian workers.
X - Confronting Corporate Power Networks: Community poisoned by Vale's refinery demands justice (Canada)
This article tells the story of the Port Colborne community in Canada, who detected that since 1999 the soil and water of the region have been seriously contaminated with nickel and nickel oxide. This pollution puts the population's health at risk, and may cause deadly diseases, such as cancer and leukemia. Vale Inco has operated a refinery since 1918, which is situated close to agricultural and residential areas. Since 2001, Port Colborne's inhabitants have filed a collective suit against the company, which was acknowledged as legitimate by a Canadian court of law in 2005. It is the first time that such an initiative has been accepted. It is also the largest collective legal action against environmental damage in the history of Canada.
XI - Development, Not Destruction: Open letter to the inhabitants of Long Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)
Organizations and social movements in Canada, united in the Sandy Pond Alliance, have been campaigning against the ongoing destruction of the environment in areas surrounding mining sites and steel mills in Long Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador.
XII - Waste Not, Want Not: The aggression of a company against Newfoundlanders and Kanaks (Canada / New Caledonia)
Vale-Inco wants to spill 400,000 tons of waste yearly in Sandy Pond as part of a proposed nickel operation in Voisey's Bay, Long Harbour, Canada. In Kanaky-New Caledonia, the mining company wants to build a mining residue spill-duct into the ocean. The article contains an analysis of the struggle carried out by the communities in both countries against the environmental impacts and violations committed by one and the same company: Vale.
XIII and XIV - Vale in Mozambique
The objective of the Carvão Moatize Project is the extraction of two types of coal: metallurgical and technical. Approximately 1,100 families will be displaced due to the implementation of the Carvão Moatize Project. This means paying a high social price, as they have lost their land, are suffering health impacts due to dust and loud noise, have had their social relationships altered, their traditional livelihoods have been destroyed and their traditional culture has undergone dramatic change, such as the exhumation of corpses and the displacement of local economic activities. Vale has disrespected the rights of the workers by establishing precarious labour relations/contracts and forcing workers into an insecure situation of permanent labour instability. These processes were never transparent and no indemnity or compensation was ever paid for the damages suffered by workers and their communities.
XV - Fighting For Their Rights: The recurrent struggles of the Sorowako community (Indonesia)
Tells us the story of a girl from Karonsi'e Dongi community in the Sulawesi island in Indonesia, where Vale Inco operates nickel mines. The traditional Karonsi'e Dongi community, which used to survive by hunting, gathering and agriculture, was forced to abandon their ancestral lands in 1957 due to a civil war. At the time of their displacement under the authoritarian rule of the so-called "New Order Regime", Inco signed a contract with the Indonesian Government to exploit nickel mines in the lands of the Karonsi'e Dongi. In the year 2000, the Karonsi'e Dongi decided to return to their homeland. However, they found their land had undergone dramatic changes. Instead of their fields, homes and cemetery, they found mines, a golf course and dormitories for Inco workers. Currently, 30 families are struggling to get their land back. They are poverty-stricken, lack basic utilities like water and electricity, live in huts around the area appropriated by Vale Inco and cannot work. Besides, they are under constant threat on the part of the police and armed guards hired by Vale Inco.
Vale's activities cause dramatic impact on the territories where it operates and the people that inhabit them, generating high social and environmental damage, which are rarely disclosed in the company's official documents. Deforestation, local population displacement, destruction of traditional livelihoods, air pollution, interference with local fresh water sources and pollution of creeks and rivers are by-products of Vale's extraction, processing and transport of ores to end markets.
In every area of operation, Vale follows a model of unequal, wealth-concentrating development. The profits made at the expense of natural resources and workers are privatized and transferred to the few main shareholders of the company in the form of dividends. At the same time, social costs and environmental damage resulting from Vale's operations are ignored and disregarded in the official company discourse and reports on company activities, as revealed in the cases described in this preliminary dossier.