How has Vale's presence in the country, including products and services, changed since it first entered the local market?
When Vale launched the initial stages of its industrial complex at the Port of Sohar in 2011, it marked a high point in an era of big-ticket industrial investments. Since we entered the market, there have been a few milestones. Vale has invested USD1.2 billion in local companies as part of supply chain development, more than USD10 million in sustainable and social responsibility projects, USD85 million since its inception on environment-related improvements, USD2 billion in its pelletizing plant, connected to a distribution center with a 40-million-ton handling capacity, and over USD10 million in world-class training programs to equip its employees with the tools and knowledge for rewarding futures in the mining industry. Today, Vale has 450 employees, which include 284 Omanis, of which 184 are primarily from Al Batinah, and it has contributed significantly to the Sultanate's socioeconomic development by generating more than 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.
How has the changing demand for mining over the past year affected your operations?
Despite the pandemic, we were agile enough to ensure our plans were not impacted. In fact, we invested heavily in employing advanced technologies in our pelletizing and port operations to enhance the environmental parameters and improve efficiency. In accordance with the Environmental Regulations of Environment Authority, we have put in place environmental controls that establish Vale as one of the leading companies with regards to compliance with local and global environmental standards. We also put in place a new, more flexible, safe, and collaborative working model for employees. In order to prioritize the well-being and safety of employees, we adopted a new flexible work model that combines remote work and the use of collaborative spaces. The pandemic accelerated changes already underway in the company and caused us to rethink the collaboration model and physical workspaces.
Where do you see room for growth in the mining sector in Oman, and what is your commitment as a company toward achieving Vision 2040?
Vision 2040 aims to build a robust, self-sustaining economy, moving away from oil and gas to include secondary and tertiary sectors. The government has already made decisions to better organize the sector and attract investment, and we can contribute to Oman Vision 2040 in several ways. Vale is committed to creating a sustainable future in the country. We have a focus on the environment and natural resources and have programs in place to be a leader in low-carbon mining. For example, Vale has invested heavily in employing advanced technologies in its pelletizing and port operations to adhere to the environmental requirements. We focus on economic leadership and fiscal sustainability via supplier development and promotion of downstream business.
What is the importance of international companies, such as yours, for the introduction of more environmentally sustainable practices in the Sultanate?
The company is committed to practicing and promoting the efficient use of these resources, investing in clean energy, and acting to mitigate the impact of its operations on climate change. Here, Vale has invested heavily into employing advanced technologies in its pelletizing and port operations to adhere to the environmental requirements. Globally, our Forest Goal is integrated in the company's goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. This challenge is supported by two lines of action: the reduction of emissions through technological solutions and compensation, via nature-based solutions. In the technology part, Vale will invest between USD4 and 6 billion to reduce its direct and indirect emissions by 33% by 2030. The ISO 14001 Certificate was awarded to Vale in Oman in 2016 and renewed in 2019, reflecting the company's commitment to environmental protection and controls. Vale has invested more than USD10 million in sustainable and social responsibility projects between 2013 and 2020.