The Sustainable Supply Chains team collaborated with the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative and multinational mining company Vale to bring sustainability education to young engineering professionals in Brazil. Learn more about the program below and on MIT News.

For the mining industry, efforts to achieve sustainability are moving from local to global. In the past, mining companies focused sustainability initiatives more on their social license to operate — treating workers fairly and operating safe and healthy facilities. However, concerns over climate change have put mining operations and supply chains in the global spotlight, leading to various carbon-neutral promises by mining companies in recent months.


Heading in this direction is Vale, a global mining company and the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer. It is a publicly traded company headquartered in Brazil with operations in 30 countries. In the wake of two major tailings dam failures, as well as continued pressure to reduce carbon emissions, Vale has committed to spend $2 billion to cut both its direct and indirect carbon emissions 33 percent by 2030. To meet these ambitions, a broad cultural change is required — and MIT is one of the partners invited by Vale to help with the challenge.


Stephen Potter, global strategy director for Vale, knows that local understanding of sustainability is fundamental to reaching its goals. “We need to attract the best and brightest young people to work in the Brazilian mining sector, and young people want to work for companies with a strong sustainability program,” Potter says.


To that end, Vale created the Mining Innovation in a New Environment (MINE) program in 2019, in collaboration with the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI); the Imperial College London Consultants; The Bakery, a start-up accelerator; and SENAI CIMATEC, a Brazilian technical institute. The program provides classes and sustainability training to young professionals with degrees relevant to mining engineering. Students in the MINE program get hands-on experience working with a real challenge the company is facing, while also expanding their personal leadership and technical skills. “Instilling young people with an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset is a core tenet of this program, whether they ultimately work at Vale or elsewhere,” says Potter.

Read the full article here: