The Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) recommends that Vale SA (Vale) be excluded from investment by the GPFG due to an unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to or is itself responsible for serious environmental damage.
Vale is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and engages in different types of mining and other operations in approx. 30 countries. In November 2015, a tailings dam failed at a mine in Brazil belonging to Samarco, a 50/50 joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton. The incident caused the death of 19 people and had serious environmental consequences. The report of an inquiry commissioned by BHP Billiton pointed out serious defects at the dam. The defects were of such a nature as to make it probable that the company knew of them.
In January 2019, another of Vale’s tailings dams in Brazil collapsed, causing a provisional total of 237 fatalities. The investigation into this accident has not yet been completed, but there are several similarities between the two incidents. Defects have been identified in the construction, maintenance and monitoring of the dams. Vale has a total of 45 tailings dams in Brazil.
The Council on Ethics issued its recommendation on 12 June 2019. Norge Bank announced its decision to exclude the company from investment by the GPFG on 12 May 2020.