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COP26: Miner Vale joins Brazil state's $91 million forest recovery program

Highlights

Aim is to reforest various areas in Brazil

COP pledge won't impact Vale mining

Vale has joined an initiative launched Nov. 10 at the UN's COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow by Brazilian state-owned development bank BNDES to invest Real 500 million ($91 million) in forest recovery over seven years, the diversified miner said in a statement.

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The aim is to grant financial support to forest recovery projects using native species and establish areas where forest and agriculture can co-exist in various Brazilian ecosystems, it said.

The Brazilian state has in recent years been heavily criticized for not taking a firmer stance on the illegal burning and logging of forest, particularly in the Amazon region, used to create space for agriculture and other activities, including wildcat mining.

It is expected the BNDES project—Iniciativa Floresta Viva—will reforest and improve the biodiversity of between 16,000 and 33,000 hectares of land over the seven-year period, capturing around 9 million mt of CO2 equivalent, Vale said.

It is envisaged around 50% of the financial resources available on a non-refundable basis under the scheme will be made available by BNDES under match-funding schemes. Vale, via its non-profitmaking Vale Fund, responsible for implementing the miner's forestry goals, has initially put up Real 5 million.

Vale itself expects to recover and protect 500,000 hectares of forest by 2030, including 6,000 hectares by the end of this year, it said. The company's overall investments in this area will reach around Real 100 million, and it is hoped to capture 26,000 mt/year of CO2 equivalent.

The miner noted it already helps to protect 1 million hectares of forest worldwide, of which 800,000 hectares are in Amazonia. Many of its most recently-developed mines, producing copper, nickel and other minerals, are in the Amazon region, as is its Carajas mine, the world's largest iron ore mine.

Vale said in a statement emailed to S&P Global Platts the pledge to limit deforestation struck last week at COP26 would not impact its mining activities. The pledge is a "positive initiative, in line with the company's own objectives," it said.

Some 110 leaders accounting for more than 86% of the world's forests have committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said at COP26 on Nov. 2.

Degradation of forestry and land by agriculture and industry is responsible for nearly 25% of global climate emissions, and needs to be stopped if the world is to keep sight of a global warming target of 1.5 C, Johnson said.