Vale employee smiling in green landscape. She is wearing a green Vale
uniform, goggles, helmet and ear plugs. Visual wave artifact Vale
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Talking about Vale's history is talking about transformation. Today, the company completes 80 years of operations, always with the purpose of improving life and transforming the future. Together. Since June 1, 1942, a lot has happened, but one thing remains the same: the determination to become one of the safest and most reliable mining companies in the world, always respecting the basic principle of “life as a priority”.
Learning, changes, challenges and evolutions have always been part of the path taken so far and, knowing that the role of a mining company goes far beyond mining, Vale is proud to celebrate its 80th anniversary with an eye towards the new, connected to the communities in which it is inserted and attuned to the aspirations of society. It is this attitude that makes Vale value its past, keeping its focus on the present while working to improve the future.

Cherish the past

Remembering the history of Vale is traveling through time and the progress of Brazil. In the city of Itabira, Minas Gerais, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), today Vale, was born with the aim of collaborating with the country's economic development through industrialization.
Over the years, the impact of the company's growth could be seen in several other sectors. The projects built throughout its history permeate areas such as culture, environment, social development and innovation. Follow below:
Image from the 1940s, in black and white. In it you can see the front of a locomotive and an employee next to it.
1st EFVM Locomotive. Reproduction: Marcele Oliveira
Along with the creation of the company, in 1942, came the possession of the Vitória-Minas Gerais Railroad, which gained 40 km in length. Since then, Brazil has not only gained possession of a major railroad and port facilities, but also a substantial share of mineral wealth.
Vale Nature Reserve. Photo: Ricardo Teles
Since the first years of existence, environmental preservation was already a theme at Vale. In 1951, the Vale Natural Reserve, located in Linhares/ES, was founded. The area began to be formed with the purchase of farms in the region, until reaching the number of 102 properties acquired in the 1970s.
Aerial view of construction works at the Tubarão Port Complex. Photo: Correio da manhã/ National Archive
In 1966, the company began to advance in the world export scenario with the inauguration of the Port of Tubarão, in Espírito Santo, motivating a leap in world navigation. The following year, two important milestones took place: the company became one of the 6 largest exporters in the world, selling 26 types of ore, and the Carajás deposits, in the south of Pará, were discovered.
Nantong ,China, 2012: Shipyard employees walking alongside the Shandong Vale ship under construction.
During this period, the company developed a policy of diversification of activities that led it to engage in projects for the production of bauxite/alumina/aluminium, manganese, titanium, phosphate/fertilizers, wood/cellulose, pellets and magnetic ferrites. In addition, in 1973, the first sale of iron ore to China took place, which led Brazil to become the first country in the world to export iron ore to the Chinese.
Brazilian species of Harpy eagle in the Zoobotanical Park. Photo: Ricardo Teles
The 1980s brought about advancements in several areas. There was the inauguration of the Carajás Railroad – which leads the ranking of the most efficient railways in Brazil, thanks to constant investment in technology –, the creation of the Zoobotanical Park – which exclusively houses native species of the Amazonian fauna and flora and is located within the Nacional de Carajás, in a Federal Conservation Unit, occupying an area of ​​30 preserved hectares – and the inauguration of the Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal.
Shirley Virgínia Coutinho, at the time, superintendent director of the Vale Foundation. Credit: Vale Newspaper
In the 1990s, Vale was the main exporter in the country, leader in the world iron ore market. It was much more than a mining company, although the production, processing and transport of ore constituted the center of its operations. In the 1st half of the 1990s, it sought to reinforce competitiveness in traditional areas of activity and continue with the geological survey of mining opportunities, expanding new investments in mining.
And it was at the beginning of the decade, in 1990, that the first woman took over a leadership position. Shirley Virgínia Coutinho was the superintendent director of the Vale do Rio Doce Housing and Social Development Foundation.
Change of brand from Companhia Vale do Rio Doce to Vale and the logo to just a stylized V.
This was an important period in the company's history in terms of growth, at the beginning of the decade the shares began to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2006, it achieved a record market cap of US$ 56.9 billion, making it the largest mining and metals company in the world. In 2007, the brand changed, officially going from CVRD to Vale, as it is today.
Other events, such as the creation of the Botanical Park in Vitória, the launch of the first postgraduate course in Railroad Engineering in the country and the creation of the Vale Institute of Technology also took place during this period.
Long-distance conveyor belt at Complexo S11D Eliezer Batista, Canaã dos Carajás, Pará. Photo: Ricardo Teles
In its most recent trajectory, Vale has reached important achievements and faced great challenges that have forever marked the company's history. Among the advances are the creation of Vale Fund – which aims to generate a positive socio-environmental impact – the inauguration of Complexo S11D Eliezer Batista – which is the largest mining project in its history and in the mining industry, bringing new impetus to the economic and social development of the country, especially the states of Pará and Maranhão – and the creation of the Vale Cultural Institute – which was created with the aim of promoting and supporting Brazilian cultural wealth.
In this decade we had the tragedies of Mariana and Brumadinho, which made Vale take an even more careful look at the lives of its employees and communities. And it is with a focus on the present that Vale begins its cultural transformation.

Focus on the present

The 80 years that made Vale what it is today served to show that tomorrow's change starts today. That's why the company has invested every day in topics capable of changing not only the internal environment, but also the world.
Drag to the side and find out what Vale is already doing for the future:

Sustainable transport

If in the past railroads and ships were a sign of progress, today they continue to play an essential role in the company's business. Currently, Vale has two 100% electric locomotives, one at the Tubarão Complex, in Vitória, Espírito Santo, and the other on the Carajás Railroad, in Pará. This initiative is part of the Power Shift program, which seeks to replace current energy sources with clean alternatives, contributing to a more sustainable future. Navigation also evolved and Vale, through the Ecoshipping program, acquired the world's first large ore carrier equipped with rotor sails that allow, per year, a reduction of up to 3,400 tons of CO2 equivalent in each ship.

Autonomous equipment in favor of safety           

In addition, innovation is now an ally when it comes to safety. If previously employees had to work in areas subject to the risks inherent to the operation, today autonomous equipment (72 in operation in four Brazilian states) perform these functions, while humans receive qualification to become able to interact with such equipment and prepare for the mining of the future.


Vale has not only changed its way of transporting its productions or operating its units, but has also evolved in terms of offering eco-products to the market. The green briquette - capable of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the production of steel in the steel industries - and the sustainable sand - which increases the safety of operations by reducing the disposal of tailings in dams and represents an alternative to consumption of natural sand – are clear examples of how the attitudes of the present positively impact everyone's future.

Low carbon nickel

Currently, Vale's operations in Canada produce some of the world's lowest-carbon, high-purity nickel products, essential for long-range batteries. With electric vehicles gaining ground in the market, the company's Class 1 nickel has become strategic in the production of these batteries and in the electrification of the industry as a whole. This year, Vale entered into a partnership with lithium-ion battery producer NorthVolt AB to supply low-carbon nickel, and with Tesla Inc, a leader in electric vehicle production. In May, the advantage in sourcing low carbon products was strengthened by obtaining independent third-party certification for more nickel products. Around 83% of Vale's Class 1 nickel now has an independently verified carbon footprint.
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Improve the future

All the attitudes taken in the present and throughout the 80 years of history will be reflected in the future. And, to ensure that the future is better for everyone, Vale has made several commitments that collaborated with this mission. Discover some of the company's goals:
By 2025
Within 3 years, Vale has a goal to double the number of women in the company, compared to 2019. In the last two years alone, the female presence in the company has grown by approximately 19%, which is equivalent to approximately 4,500 more women in the workforce, and there has been an 80% increase in women in senior leadership positions.
By 2030
In line with the best sustainability practices worldwide, Vale will invest up to US$ 6 billion to reduce its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 33% by 2030, that is, those under the company's responsibility. Three other commitments were also made for the year 2030, socially speaking they are as follows:
  1. Be among the three best-positioned companies in the industry in terms of social requirements according to the main external assessments in sustainable mining;
  2. Lift 500,000 people out of extreme poverty and
  3. Collaborate with the indigenous communities neighboring all Vale operations in the preparation and execution of their plans in pursuit of rights provided for in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
By 2035
In addition to the target set for 2030, the company has committed to cutting 15% of emissions in its value chain.
By 2050
Through all the actions that have already started to be taken and the other sustainable goals stipulated, Vale intends to become zero carbon by 2050.
Every story so far shows that the role of a mining company is much greater than mining. Whether in the social, economic, sustainable or technological sphere, Vale believes that the power of union is transformative.
And so it will be for the next 80 years: Transforming together!