“Serra do Gandarela” (Gandarela Range), located 30 km from Belo Horizonte, the Minas Gerais State capital, Brazil, in the southern portion of Espinhaço Mountain Range, is a unique geological formation that was recognized in 2005 as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The entire area is of great ecological importance, both historical and environmental, and is considered a high priority area for the conservation of endangered Atlantic Rain Forest and Cerrado biodiversity.
For those reasons, Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio), the Federal Agency of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment responsible for the establishment of federal Conservation Units, is proposing the creation of the Serra do Gandarela National Park. This initiative has the support of a significant portion of the informed population, as evidenced by the various petitions and manifestos calling for the lawful protection of Gandarela through the creation of this park. The technical proposal by the ICMBio, dated September 2010, presents several biological, geological, hydrological, geomorphological, speleological, paleontological and historic-cultural attributes that justify the proposal to create the Serra do Gandarela National Park.
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Is VALE an agent of global sustainability?
The “Serra do Gandarela” (Sierra Gandarela), is located in the southern portion of the Espinhaço Mountain Range, a unique geological formation that occurs in the states of Bahia and Minas Gerais (Brazil) and was recognized in 2005 as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The entire area is of great ecological importance, both historical and environmental, and is considered a high priority area for the conservation of unique Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biodiversity. The region of Gandarela concentrates the most important public water resources that will supply the huge demands of the entire metropolitan area of the Belo Horizonte megacity and numerous other municipalities in the region. Gandarela also includes the last remaining significant deposits of ironstone fields in the mountainous central region of Minas Gerais State, a geosystem characterized by unusually high rates of both plant and animal species endemism and vast watershed known to be extremely important in the process of recharging innumerable water springs in the region. This geosystem has suffered practically unregulated degradation from the impacts of iron ore extraction for decades in other areas of the vast region east of Belo Horizonte known as the Iron Quadrangle.
For reasons of its great hydrogeological, biological and cultural heritage, ICMBio, the brazilian Federal Agency of the Ministry of the Environment responsible for the establishment of Environmental Reserves, is proposing the creation of the Gandarela National Park. This initiative has the support of a significant portion of the informed population, as evidenced by the various petitions and manifestos calling for the lawful protection of Gandarela through the creation of this park.
Despite all of this, the multinational corporation Vale is still trying to license their Apolo Mine project in Gandarela, a large scale operation which would have significant environmental and societal impacts on this territory that is already vital to the five million inhabitants of the greater Belo Horizonte metropolitan region. This action goes against Vale’s own Code of Ethics, contradicts Vale’s recognition as an agent of global sustainability and violates the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Global Pact of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
It is our sincere hope that the shareholders of Vale, to be consistent with the Business Charter for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity which was signed by the company in September 2010, will join the greater efforts of Brazilian society in protecting the Sierra Gandarela and opt for preserving these precious natural resources in a truly sustainable manner, now and forever.
GANDARELA NATIONAL PARK (Vídeo)
GANDARELA (english subtitles)
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