Brazil miner Vale to spend $2 billion to cut carbon emissions 33% by 2030

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Brucutu mine owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA is seen in Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo, Brazil February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Washington Alves

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale SA VALE3.SA plans to spend at least $2 billion to cut both its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 33% by 2030, Chief Executive Eduardo Bartolomeo told Reuters on Tuesday.

Direct emissions refer to those from the company’s own operations, while indirect come from external sources, like electricity generated by a utility company and then used by Vale.

Vale previously announced plans to eliminate these emissions entirely by 2050, following a global corporate trend that has seen oil companies and other major emitters set targets to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

Scientists have said the world is still far off from goals set under the four-year-old Paris Climate Agreement to cut emissions and hold temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, in order to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

Vale’s pledge does not yet apply to so-called Scope 3 carbon emissions, which refers to emissions anywhere upstream or downstream in the supply chain, although the company has said it aims to incorporate those in the future.

The miner’s plan includes using biofuels to pelletize iron ore instead of coal, electrifying its mines and railroads, increasing energy efficiency and using more renewable energy, Bartolomeo said in an interview.

The spending is already factored in the company’s investment plans for coming years. Vale’s goal is to reduce emissions to 9.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 from 14.1 million tonnes as of 2017.

A ruptured mining waste dam at a Vale facility in the town of Brumadinho in January last year led to the deaths of at least 270 people. Bartolomeo said the incident “woke us up to a need to relate differently to society.”

The Brumadinho dam collapse came less than four years after a similar type of Vale dam burst, spilling mining waste that spread for hundreds of kilometers and is considered one of Brazil’s worst environmental disaster ever.

Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Additional reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Christopher Cushing