You are on page 1of 15

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

DOI 10.1007/s00267-014-0230-1


Mining Communities from a Resilience Perspective: Managing

Disturbance and Vulnerability in Itabira, Brazil
Joseph Wasylycia-Leis Patricia Fitzpatrick

Alberto Fonseca

Received: 1 April 2013 / Accepted: 3 January 2014 / Published online: 28 January 2014
 Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Abstract This paper applies the resilience lens to a regulatory approval process. While Itabira will remain a
socialecological system characterized by the presence of mining town for the foreseeable future, actions taken now
large-scale mineral extraction operations. The system in to address challenges will only strengthen community well-
question is the Brazilian community of Itabira, Minas being and sustainability moving forward.
Gerais, host to an iron ore operation of Vale, the worlds
second largest mining corporation. Utilizing a resilience Keywords Mining community  Resilience 
assessment framework, this study describes the various Sustainability  Governance  Disturbance  Itabira  Brazil
components of the Itabira socialecological system
revealing the challenges brought about by minings domi-
nance. Data collection included literature reviews and Introduction
semi-structured interviews with 29 individuals representing
different stakeholder groups. Findings revealed that, The resilience approach is a valuable tool for understand-
despite recent efforts by government to regulate the ing the needs and challenges of human settlements in
industry, the mine continues to generate press and pulse relation to the ecosystems within which they are embedded.
disturbances that impact the resilience of the community. It provides a lens for viewing the vulnerabilities generated
Operating from the standpoint that resilience depends lar- by humanenvironmental interaction, providing helpful
gely upon the management capacity of stakeholders, the insights for sustainable community planning. Resilience is
research identifies three ways to improve mining gover- commonly applied to socialecological systems (SESs)
nance in Itabira. First, there is a need for local government characterized by the use of renewable resources and the
to have more power in dealings with the corporation. presence of highly dynamic ecosystems where the benefits
Concurrent with this power, however, the municipality and vulnerabilities to human populations may seem obvi-
must demonstrate ownership over its fate, ideally through ous. For example, recent studies have examined the resil-
the creation of a sustainability plan. Finally, all key parties ience of coastal fisheries (e.g., Healey 2009) or of
must demonstrate commitment to cooperating to resolve particular rivers or watersheds (e.g., Forbis et al. 2006).
outstanding disturbances, even when these fall outside the However, when it comes to systems dominated by the
extraction of non-renewable resources such as mining
communities, resilience remains underutilized as a man-
agement tool.
J. Wasylycia-Leis (&)  P. Fitzpatrick
This paper considers the impact of large-scale mining on
Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg,
MB R3B 2E0, Canada the well-being and sustainability of single-industry com-
e-mail: munities. In presenting a case study of the Brazilian city of
Itabira, Minas Gerais, this research documents the impacts
A. Fonseca
of the operations of Vale, a multinational mining corpo-
Department of Environmental Engineering, Federal University
of Ouro Preto, Morro do Cruzeiro, Ouro Preto, MG 35400-000, ration, on the community and identifies the challenges and
Brazil threats to community sustainability. Through a resilience

482 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

assessment, the paper discusses five press and pulse dis- (Bradbury 1984). Furthermore, all mines will eventually
turbances1 in Itabira related to the mining industry, high- close for good. Mining towns with little economic diversi-
lighting the actions taken by different stakeholders to fication cannot be considered economically or socially
manage these challenges. secure in the long-term, because when the resource disap-
The resilience lens reveals valuable lessons about how pears so does the primary means of wealth and wellbeing.
the mining industry benefits and limits sustainable devel- Despite the many social and environmental challenges
opment and socioeconomic vitality in places like Itabira. In associated with mineral extraction, the mining industry
particular, the inclusion of temporal dynamics associated increasingly promotes a vision of sustainable mining. This
with system disturbances as well as a focus on governance approach emphasizes the opportunity for a mine to gener-
adds more depth to an analysis that could otherwise be ate a net improvement to both human populations and
reduced to pitting the company against the community. In ecosystems (MMSD 2002). It hinges on commitment at the
this regard, the paper proposes that corporate actions can- community level to generating long-term economic wealth
not be the sole means through which communities such as and opportunity without creating irreversible environmen-
Itabira pursue sustainability and that a long-term commu- tal burdens.
nity-focused strategy is important for securing resilience. A range of frameworks are used to pursue sustainability
in the mining industry, with a broad separation drawn
between government-mandated and voluntary-enacted
Background approaches. Since the 1980s, governments throughout the
world have increased their control on the mining sector,
Mining: Challenges and Opportunities responding to a growing environmental movement of
for Sustainability which concern over resource extraction is a central theme
(e.g., Eggert 1994). Government mining policies vary in
Minings negative environmental impacts are numerous scope and purpose, reflecting a concern for specific issues
and well-documented. Among the most notorious are: acid such as pollution, or embodying a broader vision of sus-
mine drainage; erosion and sedimentation; release of toxic tainability. However, mining corporations are taking it
chemicals; reduction of air quality; habitat modification; upon themselves to manage their operations in pursuit of
and pollution and over-consumption of fresh water. Min- sustainable outcomes. This is a result of a growing wave of
eral extraction also brings with it socioeconomic chal- international social and environmental advocacy propelled
lenges, with environmental impacts translating into health by NGOs, indigenous groups, and social movements (e.g.,
concerns for residents such as polluted air and contami- Kapelus 2002; Clausen and McAllister 2001) and the fact
nated drinking water (Shandro et al. 2011). Furthermore, that governments are, for a variety of reasons, experiencing
pollution burdens and environmental destruction can pre- a devolution of their power and ability to manage economic
clude employment in traditional livelihoods and non-mar- and environmental realities within the ethos of neoliberal
ket activities (MMSD 2002). Mining communities must globalization (Sagebien et al. 2008; Dashwood 2007).
also manage challenges associated with employment and Mining corporations have turned to the corporate social
opportunity. Notably, wage gaps may arise between those responsibility (CSR) model as a way of demonstrating that
who work for the mine and those who do not. Workplace their practices are environmentally sound and ethical in the
health and safety, job quality and security, wages and face of ongoing scrutiny.
benefits, and the contracting out of work to non-local res- While government-led and corporate-led approaches are
idents are also serious concerns in communities with a high abundant, integrated frameworks to facilitate sustainability
rate of mining employment (Azapagic 2004). and resilience in mining-based towns are more limited.
Host communities must also cope with the market Nonetheless, both groups have actions that contribute to
uncertainties of mineral commodities. The cyclical nature of sustainability. For these reasons, there is a clear need to
demand in minerals and metals markets means that mining make communities the central and explicit focus for
companies may be forced to temporarily scale back or stop facilitating sustainable mining.
operations at mine sites (Neil et al 1992; Freudenburg 1992).
Such downswings reduce employment in mining commu- Resilience: Applying the Lens to Sustainable Mining
nities and slow the overall generation of wealth therein
Resilience is most commonly defined as the ability of a
Disturbances are characterized by a number of elements, including system to absorb disturbance or restructure itself in the face
duration. Temporally, press disturbances are chronically occurring
of change while still retaining core functions and feedbacks
and thus exert compounding pressure on systems. Pulse disturbances
are discrete, meaning these types of disturbances impact a system for (Walker and Salt 2006). As noted by Plieninger and Bieling
a shorter period of time. (2012), resilience is an interesting framework in that it

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 483

includes both the structures to organize and understand a community-owned alternatives, while feasible for gem-
system and a pathway for managing potential challenges to stones, precious metals, and construction material, is a far
that system. With respect to the former, resilience con- more challenging approach to replace multinational cor-
ceptualizes communities as part of SESs, geographically porate industries that focus on capital intensive extraction
defined places where patterns of interactions take place such as iron, copper, and nickel. As such, it is important to
(Berkes 2007). An SES is shaped by variables, operating at consider building adaptive capacity in single-industry
different spatial and temporal scales. Of particular interest towns while the mine continues to operate. Identifying
are disturbances, which have the potential to negatively press and pulse disturbances as well as the (in)actions of
impact a systems structure and essential functions. As governance institutions can help illustrate the same path-
noted above, disturbances are temporally categorized as way toward resilience, before the crisis point.
either pulsethose that occur as discrete eventsor press This research is built around a modified version of the
eventsthose that persist for extended periods of time resilience assessment framework developed by the Resil-
(Resilience Alliance 2010). Analyzing press and pulse ience Alliance (2010). It consists of three main elements
disturbances, then, can reveal a systems vulnerability both used to analyze the community of Itabira: (1) describing
to the loss of individual functions and to an unanticipated the system; (2) issues and management; and (3) resilience
regime shift (Walker and Salt 2006). implications (see Fig. 1). The first element enabled the
Resilience also provides a framework for pursuing sus- identification of central ecological and economic processes
tainable outcomes. The lens recognizes the adaptive in Itabira, as well as the social and political institutions that
capacity of SESs and the role of human agencies in fos- exert power and control over these elements. Next, the
tering change (Gunderson 2000). From this perspective, assessment identifies the main challenging issues within
resilience emphasizes the role of institutions to foster the system, while simultaneously exploring the responsi-
adaptations to disturbances. In resilient communities, bility of governance actors around each issue. The third
institutions work to recognize and harness the transfor- step adds another layer by considering what these chal-
mative properties of systems, continually reshaping poli- lenges mean in terms of disturbance, vulnerability, and
cies and actions to reflect changing circumstances long-term resilience and by identifying ways in which
(Gunderson 2000; Folke et al. 2002; Plummer and Armit- governance and adaptive capacity can be strengthened.
age 2007). In doing so, resilience is seen to be a strong fit This approach differs from the model put forward by the
for contemplating healthy and sustainable communities Resilience Alliance in that it deemphasizes drastic system
(e.g., Berkes and Ross 2012; Barr and Devine-Wright transformation. This omission is purposeful, because the
2012). reality is that the system in question is likely to remain in
Resilience is increasingly applied to consider the its mining-dominated configuration for at least 50 more
dynamics of resource-based communities. The boom and years, as discussed below. Thus, resilience is utilized as a
bust dynamics of single-industry resource towns can be means of identifying key issues and disturbances and their
significant, and thus, transformation is often the only impacts on core functions, making way for a discussion on
alternative to abandonment. Indeed, there are studies con- how resilience can be fostered while mining activity
templating community resilience post-transformation from remains a major part of Itabiras dynamics.
resource dependence (e.g., Smith and Parkins 2011). Data collection focused on a combination of a literature
However, there is also a growing body of research that review and semi-structured interviews with 29 informants
considers resilience dimensions in single-industry towns (see Table 1). Interviews canvassed a range of topics
prior to crisis. For example, research related to forest-based important to understanding the adaptive capacity of the
towns confirmed the assumption that reliance on a single- community. This included questions that focused on the
resource industry has negative implications for stability, following: interactions among Vale, the government, and
which can be mitigated through institutional adaptations the broader community; recent changes to mine site oper-
(Smith et al 2012) and considers the potential for shadow ations that positively impacted the environmental, social,
networks as a tool for increased adaptation to mobilize and economic conditions in Itabira; discussion on the
alternative forest production (e.g., Bullock et al. 2012). driver(s) of those change(s); and an assessment of out-
Less, well-developed literature focuses on on-going resil- standing concerns. Literature included academic sources,
ience challenges surrounding large-scale mining commu- government and corporate documents, and community
nities. Like forest-based communities, viability and newspapers and websites published in either Brazilian
stability of mining towns are strongly linked to resource Portuguese or English. This data informed the identification
extraction. Thus, fluctuations in the global market generate of research participants, selected using purposeful sam-
vulnerability for the site. Unlike forestry, mining tends to pling. Informants represented industry, industrial associa-
be capital intensive. The adoption of small-scale or tions, unions, all three levels of government, local media,

484 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

Fig. 1 The resilience

assessment framework. The
process begins with a
description of the system and
proceeds clockwise through the
steps (modified from Resilience
Alliance 2010)

and environmental nongovernmental organizations, all of (IBGE 2010). Itabiras demographic profile indicates that
whom expressed interest in Vales Itabira operation. The the community is relatively young (Wasylycia-Leis 2012).
coding system differentiates between membership in broad Only 10 % of the population is 60 years of age or older.
stakeholder groups: the local community of Itabira (C); the Furthermore, 25.1 % of the population is between 25 and
mining industry (I); the state and local government (G); and 39 years of age while 31.6 % are between the ages of 6 and
environmental nongovernmental organizations (N). 24 (IBGE 2010). With such a large contingent of people at
Interviews, lasting between 30 and 120 min, were con- or nearing an age in which new families are started, the
ducted in Portuguese, tape recorded and transcribed into population of the community will likely see sustained
English for analysis. Data analysis employed the qualita- growth in the decades to come. From a resilience per-
tive data analysis software program NVivo9 (QSR Inter- spective, the ability of the local economy to provide for this
national 2010). Using a selective coding process (Bryman young and growing population is a serious concern.
et al. 2009), responses were grouped according to the three Employment opportunities must be fostered and main-
stages of the resilience assessment and then categorized tained if young residents are able to achieve their full
broadly under social, ecological, and economic issues. potential. Healthcare and education services must also be
These codes provided the platform for the resilience maintained to support new families as well as the aging
assessment of Itabira. The expertise and knowledge of cohort of the population. High rates of depression, alco-
participants, the open-ended nature of interviews, the holism, divorce, and even suicide present challenges for
incorporation of a wide range of stakeholder viewpoints, social and mental health in Itabira (Minayo et al. 2006) and
and a commitment by the researchers to triangulate find- also highlight the need for community-based services. An
ings all reflect upon the reliability and validity of the data. analysis of the period following Vales privatization by
Located in south-eastern Brazil, Itabira sits approxi- Minayo et al. (2006) suggests that disturbances within the
mately 100 km northeast of the Minas Gerais state-capital, company have adverse impacts on the workforce that, in
Belo Horizonte. Its name applies both to the city as well as turn, have negative impacts on community health.
its larger municipal district (IBGE 2010). The city and the Although the citys population is 90 % literate, rates of
surrounding district, with its natural, agricultural, and post-secondary education are low. Only 12 % of residents
mineral extraction developments, form a complex social over the age of 25 have a post-secondary education, while
ecological system that is the focus of this research. As seen 5 % of people aged 1824 attend university or college
in Fig. 2, the Itabira SES has a distinct set of urban, rural, (Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) 2006, p. 20). These
ecological, and economic components. low rates of post-secondary education have labor force
According to the 2010 Brazilian federal census, the It- implications for Itabira, especially since economic diver-
abira municipal district or county has a population of sification away from the mining industry is a primary goal
109,783 inhabitants with 93.2 % living in urban areas of the community. It is difficult to foster new industries,

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 485

Table 1 List of organizations represented in the interviews grouped into four broad stakeholder categories and described according to their roles
and interests in mining governance
Organization Profile Number of

Local Government and Municipal Council for Environmental Municipal committee for environmental protection that 1
Community Protection (CODEMA) serves a forum for the discussion of environmental issues in
Stakeholders (C) Itabira
Itabira Municipal Government The elected officials and the Municipal Secretaries of the 6
Environment, Planning, and Economic Development have
an interest in the social, economic, and environmental
aspects of mining
Sindicato Metabase Local union representing Vales employees; mobilizes 2
around issues such as labor rights and mine revenue sharing
Retired Vale Employee Retired Vale employee who worked for the company before 1
and after its privatization and lives in Itabira
Local newspaper One of several local newspapers 1
Regional and State Minas Gerais Secretary of State for the State department responsible for the management of natural 3
Governments (G) Environment and Sustainable resources and administering licensing agreements for
Production (SEMAD) industrial operations including mining
Federal Ministry of Mines and Energy Federal department responsible for the oversight and 2
sustainable development of Brazils mining and energy
Mining industry (I) Sindiextra (Minas Gerais Mineral Industry association representing mineral producers operating 4
Industry Association) in Minas Gerais and helping them align with social and
environmental sustainability standards
Brazilian Mining Association (IBRAM) A private, non-profit organization advocating for Brazils 2
mining industry and promoting sustainable development
within the sector
Vale The second largest mining company, with operations in 38 6
countries. Itabira is the site of Vales first mine in 1942.
Over 8 % of the total population of Itabira is employed at
Vale, either directly by the company or through sub-
Environmental Association of Mining and Environmental organization concerned with sustainable 1
nongovernmental Environmental Protection (AMDA) consumption and the protection of natural resource in the
organization (N) Minas Gerias Region

commercial enterprises, or entrepreneurial endeavors demographic profile, it is easier to understand the signifi-
without the presence of higher education within a cant role that Vale plays within the community.
community. Itabira has a long history of mining owing to its location
Another key characteristic of Itabiras population is the within the mineral-rich Iron Quadrangle region (Ralph and
existence of significant wealth polarization. The average Chau 2011). The Minas Gerais gold rush in the eighteenth
per capita income in Itabira is R $264.52 per month, or century fuelled the development of artisanal gold mining
roughly US $1764.00 per year. Furthermore, 44.6 % of operations by Portuguese colonizers along with agrarian
people living in Itabira are below the poverty line, with homesteading and livestock practices (Enrquez 2008;
10.7 % of the population living on less than R $37.50 per Bergad 1999). In fact, Itabira of the nineteenth century, as
month (Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) 2006, p. 28). described by Bergad (1999), could be considered eco-
One statistic which shows the acuteness of wealth nomically resilient with output in a diverse range of
inequality in Itabira is that the poorest 20 % of the popu- industries. However, this dynamic was significantly altered
lation holds only 2.5 % of all income in the city while the when extraction shifted from artesian gold to large-scale
richest 20 % accounts for just under 60 % (Portal 2010). iron ore.
Income disparity in the community means that not all In 1942, the Brazilian government created the Com-
residents have equal access to the necessities and amenities panhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) to capitalize on the rich
of life. For example, 12 % of the population lives in semi- mineral deposits of the Iron Quadrangle region of Minas
inadequate or inadequate housing. In the context of this Gerais, including Itabira (Enrquez 2008). Vale, the name

486 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

Fig. 2 Landsat 8 panchromatic band for August 2, 2013 showing the map data courtesy of ESRI Canada ARCWorld Supplement. Cartog-
location of Vale mining operations in relation to the city of Itabira. raphy by Christopher D Storie
Landsat 8 data courtesy of the United States Geological Survey. Inset

by which the company is known today, chose Itabiras Concurrent with Vales transition to a public corpora-
Mount Caue as the site of its first operation. The second tion, the Government of Brazil increased its regulation over
operation at Conceicao Peak fuelled demand for an urban the environment. In 1990, the State of Minas Gerais
industrial workforce in the 1950s (Olivo et al 2001). By the established the State Council for Environmental Policy
1960s, the population of Itabira had doubled relative to the (COPAM) (Devlin and Tubino 2012). The agency carries
pre-Vale era and mining accounted for the vast majority of out the regulation and licensing of all industrial activity
jobs in the community (Tubino et al. 2011). within the state. All industrial projects, including mining
In 1997, a majority of the companys shares were sold to operations, must be granted an environmental license from
a private consortium (IBRAM 2010). The company COPAM to operate and meet its standards on an ongoing
remains a massive force within the Itabira SES in the post- basis (SEMAD 2011).
privatization period, now operating a third iron ore devel- Increased regulation in Minas Gerais proved to be a
opment at Minas do Meio (Vale 2009). One of the most major turning point for the environmental management of
recent statistics on Vales economic impact indicates that the mine. Vale applied for its Corrective Operational
the companys dominance is significant (Prefeitura Muni- License (LOC) in 1995. The details of this process and
cipal de Itabira (PMI) 2006). Mining makes up 54 % of all subsequent LOC are described by Tubino et al. (2011),
industrial activity in the community with Vale (informants Devlin and Turbino (2012), and Fonseca et al. (2013). A
12-C; 17-C) employing close to 3,000 full-time workers in noted feature of this process was the role of the public.
addition to more than 7,000 contractors throughout the year Over 800 people attended a public hearing, with citizens
(Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) 2006). Itabiras iron voicing concerns over Vales impact on social, economic,
ore reserves totaled 1.03 billion tons as of 2006 and may and environmental sustainability in the community. The
take up to 50 years to deplete at current extraction rates meeting resulted in 2 years of negotiation between Vale,
(Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) 2006, p. 87). Prior Itabiras municipal government, FEAM, and the City
to the new processing facility, it was thought mining could Council of Environmental Defence in Itabira (CODEMA).
continue in Itabira until 2019, while it is now expected to The subsequent LOC proved to be the cornerstone for the
carry on until 2075 (informant 21-I). management of mining activity in Itabira for much of the

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 487

Fig. 3 A map of the stakeholder interactions governing the mining industry in Itabira

2000s. In addition to addressing concerns relating directly Itabira. Figure 3 illustrates, in brief, interactions between key
to mine site operations, the LOC also reflects several organizations. The most obvious governance actors in Itabira
concerns surrounding privatization that were raised during are the formal government institutions that have a stake in the
the public consultation process. As noted by Devlin and community. First, the federal government implicates itself at
Tubino (2012) and one research participant (informant the local level via federal mining and environmental regula-
13C), the LOC contains conditions that address job secu- tions. Second, as the administrator of mine licensing agree-
rity, wages and benefits, and the uncertain time horizon for ments, the Minas Gerais state government has significant
the end of mining operations in the region. impact on mining-related outcomes in Itabira. The munici-
The LOC provides a clear outline of the communitys pality has less regulatory muscle than these higher levels of
expectations of Vale at the time, and, therefore, its government yet faces major corporate influence from Vale.
importance as a governance mechanism in Itabira cannot This reality presents dilemmas for local representatives. For
be overstated. Findings from the semi-structured interviews example, most taxation and environmental regulation are
make clear that city officials, Vale representatives, and outside the purview of City Hall, yet the city counts on mining
members of Itabiras civil society all use the LOC as a revenues and a healthy environment. The municipality must
point of reference when looking to clarify responsibility cater to the companys development plans with only a limited
around keys issues in the community. However, unfulfilled capacity to protect the local environment autonomously.
commitments, and subsequent revisions to the license Beyond governments and their agencies, civil society actors
behind closed doors, among other issues, mean that the also influence mining decision making in the community.
LOC has less credibility in the eyes of many in the com- However, outside of influencing elections and public opinion,
munity (Tubino et al. 2011; informant 18-N). or mobilizing protests, the power of civil society rests largely
The needs of Itabiras residents exist within a complex with the discretion of government and the corporation.
governance arena, where a range of other agents exert influ- Vale is of course a major player in the governance of
ence on community outcomes. Table 1, above, summarizes Itabira. Given its economic status, the company garners a
the functions of key actors and their roles in managing social, lot of attention within the political sphere of Itabira and no
economic, and environmental outcomes in mining relative to doubt exerts considerable influence at this level. When

488 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

Vale was a publicly-owned company, it provided many cope with change by reducing its overall vulnerability to
social and municipal services directly to the community the loss of specific elements (Norberg and Cumming 2008).
(Tubino et al. 2011). Itabira is now a small part of Vales Within Itabira, however, economic diversity remains lim-
massive, globally expanding business plan and the com- ited. Wealth generation, and subsequently the generation of
pany makes decisions in its best interests not in those of the social welfare, depends primarily upon the ongoing pre-
community. The political culture in Itabira remains char- sence of Vale. The company is not only the leading
acterized by an uneasy tension among local government, employer in the community, but also the leading source of
civil society, and Vale, specifically regarding their roles municipal revenue. Some estimates suggest that taxes and
and responsibilities. No doubt a history of service provision royalties from Vale amount to as much as 80 % of muni-
by Vale means the local government and community as a cipal revenue (informant 17-C). However, with a range of
whole retain high expectations of the company (Tubino local, state, and national taxes placed on Vale, as well as
et al. 2011; informants 11-C; 15-C; 25-C). As Vale tran- inter-jurisdictional transfers, city officials could not confi-
sitions from a provider to an enabler of social welfare in dently identify all of the companys financial inputs.
Itabira, other institutions must assume a leadership role. A The municipal government states its desire to encourage
lack of clarity regarding expectations and responsibilities industrial diversification by: creating a climate suitable for
of Vale and the local government stands as a commonality new development; fostering partnerships between busi-
among many of Itabiras resilience challenges (informants nesses and institutions; emphasizing education and entre-
12-C; 17-C; 21-I; 22-I). These concerns also draw on the preneurship; and promoting the citys industrial park
question as to whether or not City Hall has the ability to district (Municipio De Itabira and Minas 2006, p. 39).
carry out its municipal duties independently of Vale Research by Enrquez (2008) revealed that Itabira invests
(informants 12-C; 13-C; 14-C; 20-I; 21-I). in technical and post-secondary education facilities, as well
as dedicated spaces for industrial and technological
development. Vale, for its part, partnered with the muni-
Resilience Issues cipal government in the development of the Community
Foundation of Higher Education, Itabiras community
This study reveals seven major socioeconomic and bio- college, and the Universidade Federal de Itajuba, the citys
physical challenges to resilience within Itabira (see federal university campus. Both institutions aim to diver-
Table 2). The challenges manifest themselves in the form sify the skill and knowledge sets of residents as one way of
of both press and pulse disturbances and result from pro- fuelling economic diversification.
cesses both inside and outside of the local system. Table 2 Although there is a great deal of political attention
presents the causes of these issues alongside concerns devoted to economic diversification in Itabira, the com-
about how they are managed. Importantly, the governance munity finds it difficult to outrun the economic momentum
column reveals that, while LOC directives have generated of the mining industry. An expansion currently underway
some positive results, overall the responses to these chal- at Vales Caue mine site will cement the companys
lenges are piecemeal without collaboration among position of economic dominance for possibly another
stakeholders. 60 years (informant 21-I). While city officials preach
diversification as the future path to sustainability in Itabira,
A comprehensive analysis of the Itabira SES is not the Caue project suggests that they support the mining
possible in the context of this paper (see Wasylycia- industry as a means to securing short- and long-term eco-
Leis 2012). Given this, findings presented in this nomic stability in the community.
document focus on different press and pulse distur-
bances most strongly emphasized by participants Economic Dependence
representing a range of stakeholders. The discussion
below focuses on five of these resilience concerns, From a resilience perspective, single-industry dependence
which include a selection of economic, environmen- means Itabira experiences pulse disturbances during times
tal, and social challenges: economic diversity, eco- of global economic downturn, which naturally impact iron
nomic dependence, environmental impacts, potable ore prices or corporate restructuring within Vale (infor-
water, and challenges to overall quality of life. mants 5-I; 13-C; 15-C; 21-I; 28-I). As summarized by
informant 13-C: If there is a crisis many jobs are lost.
Economic Diversity Vale doesnt have a buffer process to be prepared for that.
Sustainability depends on the iron ore market. This per-
Diversity is one of the core requirements for fostering spective was illustrated during the 200809 economic
resilience within SESs. It enhances a systems ability to downturn. Over 1,000 were laid off at Vale and resulted in

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 489

Table 2 Key economic and socio-environmental disturbances within Itabira, resilience implications, and governance actions
Issues Main causes Resilience implications Governance

Economic Growth of mining activity in Itabira since Wealth and social welfare are dependent Vale moved away from the provision of
dependence the 1940s monopolized the labor force of upon the continued presence of Vale civic services with privatization,
a traditionally diverse economy. Today, Basic civic services rely upon mining resulting in unmet expectations by the
mining is the primary employer in the revenue population
community and Vale contributes the vast
majority of municipal revenue Local government must keep Vales Debates over Vales funding responsibility
interest in the forefront, potentially often impeded the implementation for
limiting its ability to develop long-term new civic projects.
strategies for the environment and Metabase and the local government
diversification advocate for increased royalties from
Vale to the municipality as
compensation. Vale is skeptical of the
local governments capacity to properly
manage revenues
Lack of The industry has a great deal of inertia in Socioeconomic well-being is vulnerable to Through the development of industrial
diversification the community. A new concentration intermittent declines and eventual districts and investment in postsecondary
plant will increase production and will cessation of mining activity education, local government has
enable mining to continue for at least 50 attempted to foster diversification. These
more years limiting the incentive to actions illustrate collaboration between
diversify the company and the municipality
A cultural perception of Itabira as a mining A comprehensive long-term strategy for
community dampens the ability to create diversification with clear objectives and
an entrepreneurial climate clarification of responsibilities remains
outstanding, despite the fact that
condition 52 of the LOC requires Vale to
assist in the development of such a plan
Depletion of Intensive water use by the mining sector Access to affordable drinking water for all LOC condition 12 indicates that Vale must
water supply lowers the water table in the Itabira members of the community is threatened. play a role in securing a new water
region. Infrastructure for a new water Water also limits the potential for growth supply. Disputes between local
supply is needed in the near future of other industrial sectors government and Vale regarding the
companys specific obligations slow
progress on this front
Environmental Dust and air pollution generated by mining Residents denied access to clean air and LOC Conditions 2329 require Vale to
degradation activities exposed to health risks monitor and control its emission levels.
However, the company uses its political
leverage to evade penalties for over-
Mining requires large areas of natural Loss of biodiversity, agricultural land, and Municipal government spearheads
habitat and geographic features to be landforms of cultural significance to the environmental protection through a
destroyed and contributes to the pollution community conservation initiative. Under the
of the local watershed requirements of the LOC (condition 33),
Vale carried out the restoration of some
mine sites with native plant species
Prevalence of environmental issues in The location of mine sites relative to urban As mandated by the LOC (condition 34),
urban areas resulting from the close neighborhoods generates a number of Vale developed a number of green and
proximity of mine and tailings sites to barriers to quality of life for residents recreational spaces to improve the urban
Itabiras neighborhoods including air and noise pollution and an environment, but today the maintenance
esthetically displeasing urban of these spaces is a point of contention
environment among stakeholders
Reduced Minimal regulation of the mining industry The locality of mine sites relative to urban Governance action addressing this
quality of life and land-use planning in Itabira prior to neighborhoods generates a number of disturbance remains piecemeal. A
the 1980s resulted in the development of barriers to quality of life for residents comprehensive strategy is required
urban neighborhoods and mine sites including air and noise pollution and an needing the input of the community, the
within close proximity esthetically displeasing urban corporation, and the state
Vales employees comprise a large For example, Vales restructuring at the
segment of Itabiras population, and end of the 1990s contributed to an
challenges among the workforce have increase of depression, alcoholism,
adverse impacts on the social well-being divorce, and possibly even suicide in the
of the community following years (Minayo et al. 2006)

490 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

Table 2 continued
Issues Main causes Resilience implications Governance

Job security Downswings in the mining industry and the Uncertain job security, dictated by global Local government welcomes the forecast
global economy result in layoffs at Vale demands, has negative impacts on social of Vales presence in the community to
and economic welfare in the community 2075 as mid-term solution to concerns
about job security
Plans for the development of a diverse
labor force are sparse, and Vales
commitment to skills training focuses
primarily on the needs of the mining
Workplace There are a high number of occupational These hazards negatively impact the Metabase advocates for the rights of Vale
health safety hazards associated with iron ore mining quality and security of life for mine workers. Vale must adhere to state and
workers and their families federal labor laws and stand up to
international security and global CSR

considerable social unrest in the community (Devlin and development sectors, in order to reach sustainability
Tubino 2012). (informant 16-C). Vale, however, responds hesitantly to
In addition to these intermittent shocks, economic reli- call for increased royalties, highlighting concerns over the
ance on Vale presents a looming, long-term challenge, or capacity of the local government to show fiscal responsi-
press disturbance for Itabira. Continuing to pursue mining bility. The debate over corporate compensation and gov-
as the primary economic driver likely means Itabira will ernment competence stands as a clear obstacle to the
have difficulty coping with the inevitable depletion of iron successful governance of diversification in the community.
ore in the region. Several participants (informants 25-C; The economic reliance of Itabira on Vale, then, comes
13-C; 11-C) worry about the prospects for long-term eco- with both press and pulse implications. Partnerships
nomic stability in Itabira. They suggest that by putting all between the community and the company that focus on
its eggs in the mining basket, so to speak, the community education appear promising. However, the community has
leaves itself few options for economic development in its not yet realized the net benefits. Recognizing the downfalls
post-mining era. One interviewee states: The economy of associated with a single-industry town, local actor must
the municipality gravitates around the mining company. work to overcome the allure of a mine-based job and foster
When the company finishes its activities, we do not know alternative forms of employment. A landscape scarred by
the future of the municipality (informant 25-C). decades of environmental impacts and challenges to a
The economic magnetism of Vale also hinders the healthy quality of life present in the community make
organic rise of different types of development within Ita- diversification an even greater challenge.
bira. Residents tend to accept that the communitys fate is
sealed as a mining community dampening the pursuit of Environmental Impacts
new economic endeavors. Tradition has given way to
expectation and, as informant 21-I suggests, the Itabirano Unpacking ecological disturbances is somewhat more
does not have a culture of entrepreneurship we are raised challenging from a resilience perspective. As informants
to become a Vale Employee. Furthermore tension exists 12-C, 16-C, and 21-I and Souza e Silva and Guimaraes
between Vale and the municipality when it comes to (2002) explain, many of the most serious impacts were
longer-term diversification strategies. There is continued compounded during a long period of largely unregulated
debate over the fairness of Vales financial compensation mining activity in Itabira that lasted until the 1980s. As
levels (e.g., royalties), the ability of local authorities to stated by informant 12-C, [Vale] started its mining
manage these revenues, and what both mean for the pros- operations in 1942, when there was no environmental
pects of diversification. The impetus for new economic legislation. Vale could do everything it wanted with no
initiatives, such as schools and industrial parks which concern. The result is a landscape impacted by soil ero-
attract new sectors to the community, comes primarily in sion, the loss of local plant and animal species, and the
the form of revenue generated by Vale. From this per- pollution of rivers. Itabira must also manage the on-going
spective, a recent push by the community to see Vales environmental challenge of dust and air pollution generated
royalty payments increased makes sense. These payments, from Vales operations. Both the dust generated from
it is argued, will enable Itabira to invest much more in mining vehicles and the emission of particulate matter from

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 491

extraction and refining operations contribute to a reduction Potable Water

in air quality in the community. This is a significant con-
cern for the local community (informants 9-C, 10-C, 14-C, A long-standing concern is the impact of mining on potable
16-C, and 18-C). water which remains unresolved despite the LOC. Souza e
Efforts to minimize on-going environmental impacts are Siva and Guimaraes (2002) found that Vales operations
frequently tabled to the LOC. Several of the LOC condi- resulted in a lowering of the water table in the region,
tions aim to undo or address environmental hardships potentially jeopardizing residents access to drinking water.
incurred in the past. As one city official (informant 16-C) Tubino et al. (2011) also concluded that water scarcity in
explains, many of the regulatory policies and management Itabira has resulted in a doubling of water prices for resi-
practices in effect today are based on the lessons learned dents. Informants 9-C, 10-C, 11-C, 15-C, 16-C, and 18-N
from the 40-year period, where little regard was shown for expressed concern over Itabiras water supply. Informant
the environment. For example, conditions 23 through 29 of 10-C states: the experts say the water table is endan-
the licensing agreement require Vale to execute a range of gered Theres a lot of talk about how Itabira will get
activities in relation to improving and maintaining air water.
quality in Itabira. Notably, the conditions resulted in Vale For its part, Vale downplays the severity of the water
producing a number of reports on air pollution in the city concern, suggesting that it makes a conscious effort to
and the company developing an air quality monitoring reuse the resource (informant 20-I). Vale officials suggest
network that relays information to different players (Devlin the water problem in Itabira is not so much about a
and Tubino 2012; informant 14-C). This network not only shortage per se, but a lack of infrastructure (informant
includes Vale and the state, but also CODEMA and City 21-I).
Hall. The question of water infrastructure connects to an
Beyond the LOC, the town introduced a penalty system, ongoing debate over condition 12 of the LOC stipulating
whereby Vale is given a fine whenever the monitoring that Vale must assist the community in securing surface
system detects that the level of suspended particulate and groundwater sources. Presently, Vale and the munici-
matter exceeds safe levels. It might appear that the moni- pality have different opinions about what the condition
toring coupled with the fine system is an effective gover- specifically requires of the company. City Hall expects
nance mechanism, as Vale has only been charged once Vale to find and develop new water sources for the com-
since 2007 (informant 14-C). However, Vale still uses its munity (Tubino et al 2011; informant BI-15). However, as
political and legal power to appeal the fines and have them informant 21-I states, Vale believes that it is responsible
reduced or eliminated (informant 12-C). only for researching the location and feasibility: Vale
Furthermore, Itabiras municipal government is taking understands that we were responsible only for the study. It
some steps toward expanding environmental protection in is written in the license. The municipality argues that we
the region. Notably, City Hall operates the Mosaic Project are responsible for implementing the project as well. This
for the Conservation of Nature in Itabira (Projeto Mosaico is the conflict.
de Unidades de Conservacao da Natureza de Itabira). One industry observer feels that water supply issues
Recognizing that Itabiras urban form reflects a period of remain unresolved because there is a lack of political
disorderly city growth and mining development during pressure on Vale (informant 18-N). Vale is able to skirt the
which little regard was shown for biodiversity, the local question of establishing a new water supply, because there
government sees an urgent need to protect natural resour- is an absence of accountability and because it can hide
ces and to use them to foster sustainable development (PMI behind the LOC which lacks clarity and specifics regarding
2012). The Mosaic Project seeks to consolidate the Itabira Itabiras water supply. For the water issue to be resolved,
regions existing parks and conservation areas into a single civil society, local government, and Vale must work to
system in order to strengthen environmental protection develop a consensus on the role each stakeholder must play
while simultaneously contributing to economic diversifi- in developing the new water supply.
cation by helping the local population foster sustainable The continued strain on water resources in the region by
production chains from the areas biodiversity (informant mining activity stands as a significant press disturbance.
12-C; PMI 2012). Obviously, if Itabiras current water supply is depleted
Outside the LOC, Vales efforts to deal with outstanding without the community securing an alternative, a major
environmental impacts are not well defined. The company threshold would be crossed. The loss of a reliable water
argues that it meets the terms and conditions of its state supply could generate cascading impacts through the social
license, but there was little evidence of exceeding these and economic realms of the Itabira SES. It would stand as a
requirements. This position can be illustrated by a closer major challenge for social welfare and community health
examination of water scarcity. and well-being. Indeed, water scarcity is already posing

492 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

some limitations on economic diversification by deterring spot within the community. Informant 11-C states: Caue
other industrial sectors (informant 9-C). was still there. Before you could get to Caue, and climb the
hill to Caue and youd see the whole thing. It was beautiful,
Quality of Life and Well-Being such a pretty thing. And then, mining because when
mining started here It changed so much.
A final set of disturbances challenge the quality of life The destruction of natural landscapes, such as Caue
experienced by residents. The proximity of the mine rela- Peak, appreciated for both ecological value and esthetic
tive to urban neighborhoods has tangible impacts on those and recreational benefits, is a serious concern for residents.
living within the community. Our research participants Institutional actions to deal with this disturbance are very
(informants 8-N; 9-C; 10-C; 13-C; 14-C; 16-C; 21-I) spoke problematic. There is a strong sense in the community that
of disruptions to the social welfare and esthetics of the Vale has an obligation to provide restitution for the damage
community. In the words of informant 16-C, here in to important landscape features. However, restitution
Itabira there is a unique feature, you cannot tell if the presently falls outside government regulation or corporate
municipality is inside the mine or if the mine is inside the actions. For example, condition seven of the original LOC
municipality. The limited separation between mine and requires Vale to fill in the sterile pile of the mine, but this
community (as visualized in Fig. 2) resulted from a period falls far short of the communitys notion of remediation.
of unregulated mining that occurred in Itabira prior to the Furthermore, one might question the degree to which Vale,
1980s (Souza e Siva and Guimaraes 2002) and a history of a private company, must complete remediation for histor-
poor city planning (informants 8-N; 12-C; 14-C). At the ical actions that were legally done by a state-owned com-
time, CVRD established its operations in Itabira, many of pany. The lack of a clear institutional leadership, however,
the most-valued iron ore deposits were close to or under does not mean there is no disturbance, nor does it minimize
existing urban areas. The company did not refrain from the repercussions of living in the shadow of a large mine.
mining these ore bodies, developing mine sites very near to To this end, the municipality launched a lawsuit to address
existing communities and, in a few cases, even relocating long-term impacts of ecological degradation related to
neighborhoods to access the iron (informant 8-N). The mining. However, scholars suggest that this suit will not
rapid growth of the city in the decades following the arrival likely find in favor of the community (Fonseca et al. 2013).
of CVRD only exacerbated challenges of community-mine
proximity (Souza e Siva and Guimaraes 2002).
Informants 13-C and 14-C discussed the neighborhood Resilience Implications
of Vila Paciencia as an example of social disturbance
resulting from this proximity. In Vila Paciencia, debris Although it has a long-term, stable employer, the Itabira
occasionally falls on houses and noise from mining activ- system is a long way from possessing the adaptive capacity
ities is an ongoing disruption. Informant 14-C adds that needed to create a healthy, sustainable environment. An
Vale plans to displace residents in order to establish a overarching theme emerging from this research is that a
buffer zone around the nearby mine. These realities strain fragmented resource governance regime hinders the man-
relationship between members of the neighborhood and agement of disturbances and overall resilience in Itabira.
Vale. These findings are consistent with the work of Gui- There is a clear upsurge of social and environmental ini-
maraes and Teixeira (2003) who suggest noise, debris, and tiatives developed and implemented by government and
damage to the foundations of buildings resulting from Vale over the last 20 years. Nonetheless, as illustrated by
mining activity represent serious reductions to the quality the above discussion, the challenges facing Itabira are not
of residents lives. Without doubt, the reduction in air insignificant.
quality, the existence of noise pollution, the potential for In Itabira, the situation is complicated by the fact that
property damage, and even the threat of relocating homes resource management and environmental protection fall
and neighborhoods are all realities that have serious neg- under state control, and the presence of a large industrial
ative implications for community health and social well- employer limits the degree to which the community can act
being in Itabira. They stand as periodic and compounding independently. The LOC, while a major governance mile-
disturbances to social resilience. stone (informants 8-N, 12-C, 13-C, and 14-C), has fallen
Furthermore, the degradation of nearby landscapes short of expectations that it would redress sustainable
troubles residents not only because of its negative impact development and environmental protection. Several of the
on biodiversity and renewable resources (informants 9-C; conditions of the environmental license remain unmet,
11-C; 12-C), but also because of its effect on socially largely because of waning state interest and limited
valued landscapes. Informants 8-N, 11-C, and 14-C all enforcement capability on the behalf of local authorities
cited the removal of Caue Peak through mining as a sore (Devlin and Tubino 2012; informants 12-C, 18-N, and

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 493

7-C). The credibility of the LOC eroded further after role to local government in enforcement. Since Vales top
reaffirmations of the agreement in 2004 and 2011 occurred priority is its bottom line, this could be achieved by
behind closed doors, devoid of the public participation that establishing a broader financial penalization framework
gave merit to the original license (Devlin and Tubino 2012; connected to LOC violations within the local legal system.
informants 12-C and 14-C). Rather than stand as a central Second, concurrent with new enforcement powers, the
framework for sustainability, the LOC is a soft legal municipality should demonstrate more transparency. The
agreement within Itabiras patchy environmental gover- findings indicate a major deterrent to Vale being more
nance terrain. willing to share economic resources is decisive and trans-
Vale, as the key employer, has a significant role to play parent management of those resources by the municipality.
in community resilience. Since privatization, the company The local government must develop detailed strategies for
has moved away from directly providing government-type insuring revenue from Vale is spent in pursuit of resilience
responsibilities. Vales actions, as outlined in this paper, and diversification. This planning must move beyond a
seem to focus on its regulatory requirements. As Tubino project-by-project basis to encompass a broad vision shared
et al. (2011) explains, there are three important areas where by citizens, Vale, and the local government.
the capacity of Vale to influence the community becomes Third, the next step, involves more consistent coopera-
highly apparent: environmental care, sharing economic tion outside specific regulatory tools. Armitage and
benefits, and working toward economic diversification. At Plummer (2010, p. 294) advocate that networked
the same time, Vales rise as a global multinational results arrangements involving both public and private actors
in residents seeing the company less as a local institution enable the effective redressing of challenges through
always prepared to act with the communitys interest in coordinated responses, information sharing, and the trans-
mind. With Vale openly voicing its belief in values of CSR ferring of knowledge about feedbacks among social, eco-
and sustainable mining, the company could move beyond nomic, and ecological system components. However, our
these actions to actively contribute to other systems research shows that when it comes to the management of
disturbances. mining-related challenges and planning for a diverse future
However, responsibility for a resilient community does in Itabira, interaction among key community stakeholders
not, and cannot, rest with Vale. Findings indicate that is suboptimal. There is little evidence to suggest that
mining governance and adaptive capacity can be organizations are consistently collaborating on pressing
strengthened in three ways. First, an important feature of social, economic, and environmental issues in Itabira, even
resilient systems is that the local-level institutions are able though all voiced their commitment to maintaining and
to effectively manage disturbances and uncertainty and enhancing socioeconomic and biophysical well-being in
initiate adaptation with relative independence from actors the community and region. This stands as a major missed
at other scales. Unfortunately, while there is a wealth of opportunity for building adaptive capacity and fostering
literature assessing the relationship between Vale and Ita- resilience within the Itabira SES.
bira, analysis focuses predominately on the role of the Itabira has the seeds to achieve such networked plan-
company (e.g., Minayo et al. 2006). When it comes to the ning and management arrangements, with different orga-
pursuit of desirable community outcomes in relation to nizations each grasping an understanding of different
mining activity, the capacities of local government are realms within the community. Beyond Vale and the local
equally, if not more, important than those of corporations. government, CODEMA has a focused understanding of
While Itabiras municipal government occupies a lead- past and present ecological challenges facing the region
ing role in some resilience-building initiativesnotably and the Metabase Union works on the social challenges
the push for economic diversificationit lacks true confronting Vales workforce, their families and neigh-
autonomy over community management. Some stake- borhoods, and Itabira society as a whole. Indeed, on some
holders (informants 12-C, 13-C, 14-C, 20-I, and 21) sense a issues such as air quality, described above, specific case
lack of comprehensive planning at the municipal level, collaboration has proven effective. However, ongoing
particularly when it comes to directing the large revenues collaboration among key institutions on the range of
generated from Vale toward long-term sustainability issues impacting the community has the potential to
planning. These realities indicate a need for a compre- greatly enhance the capacity to manage and plan for
hensive management strategy in Itabira. resilience outcomes in the community. Currently, these
If the challenges of the mining sector are going to be institutions appear to be arranged in silos within their
effectively managed in Itabira, the local government must respective sectors when an integrated arrangement is
find a way to have meaningful influence over Vales needed.
activities. This could be achieved by reworking the LOC While not traditionally applied to single-industry mining
system to clarify company obligations and give a greater communities, a resilience analysis can clearly inform

494 Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495

discussion on sustainability. The approach allows for chal- Acknowledgments The authors acknowledge the stakeholders
lenges to be understood as a disturbance regime made up of involved in Vales mining operations in Itabira. Their efforts over the
last 20 years have resulted in the improvements in mine-community
both press and pulse disturbances, giving context to the cause relations described in this paper. We are grateful that so many took
and effect relationships among different social, economic, the time to meet with us and share their experiences. We also thank
and ecological components. The concepts of collapse and the anonymous reviewers, the Editor-in-Chief, and the Editorial
reorganization are important in terms of understanding the Board, whose extensive feedback strengthened the presentation and
analysis in the paper. Funding for this research was provided by the
inevitable depletion of ore bodies in resource-based places. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the
These ideas become somewhat less critical when consider- University of Winnipeg.
ing immediate or short-term resilience at a site where the ore
body remains economically viable. Nonetheless, consider-
ations of governance dynamics remain important regardless References
of lifecycle. The holistic view of multi-stakeholder gover-
nance allows for nuanced consideration of the responsibili- Armitage D, Plummer R (2010) Adapting and transforming: gover-
ties of local government, the impact of state, national, and nance for navigating change. In: Armitage D, Plummer R (eds)
Adaptive capacity and environmental governance. Springer,
local policies, and the capacity of the community to identify
New York, pp 287302
challenges and goals in a participatory manner. Thus, resil- Azapagic A (2004) Developing a framework for sustainable devel-
ience enables an understanding of how a mining-dominated opment indicators for the mining and minerals industry. J Clean
SES can insure their most crucial functionthe well-being Prod 12(4):639662
Barr S, Devine-Wright P (2012) Resilient communities: sustainabil-
and vitality of the community in conjunction with ecological
ities in transition. Local Environ 17(5):525532. doi:10.1080/
sustainability. 13549839.2012.676637
Bergad LW (1999) Slavery and the demographic and economic
history of Minas Gerais, Brazil, 17201888. Cambridge Univer-
sity Press, New York
Berkes F (2007) Understanding uncertainty and reducing vulnerabil-
ity: lessons from resilience thinking. Nat Hazards
The research presented here used a resilience framework to 41(2):283295. doi:10.1007/s11069-006-9036-7
show how the mining industry maintains a particular con- Berkes F, Ross H (2012) Community resilience: toward an integrated
approach. Soc Nat Res 26(1):520. doi:10.1080/08941920.2012.
figuration of the Itabira SES. It is clear that the Itabira
system operates around a single, highly important cogthe Bradbury J (1984) The impact of industrial cycles in the mining
mining operations of Vale. Operations in the region gen- sector: The case of the Quebec-Labrador region in Canada. Int J
erate significant wealth, employment opportunity, and Urban Reg Res 8(3):311331
Bryman A, Teevan JJ, Bell E (2009) Social research methods, 2nd
spin-offs for the community, a situation that may continue
Canadian edn edn. Oxford University Press, Don Mills
for the next 60 years due to the ongoing expansion of the Bullock R, Armitage D, Mitchell B (2012) Shadow networks, social
processing facilities. However, the continued presence of learning, and collaborating through crisis: building forest-based
the industry does not guarantee that the community will communities in Northern Ontario, Canada. In: Goldstein BE (ed)
Collaborative resilience: moving through crisis to opportunity.
persist in a sustainable manner. A lack of economic
MIT Press, Boston, pp 309339
diversity makes the community reliant upon uninterrupted Clausen S, McAllister ML (2001) A comparative analysis of
and unending mining for socio-economic well-being. But, voluntary environmental initiatives in the Canadian mineral
mining activity puts a strain on other core functions. It industry. J Miner Energy 16(3):227244
Dashwood HS (2007) Canadian mining companies and corporate
limits several ecological functions, including the guarantee
social responsibility: Weighing the impact of global norms.
of a sustainable water supply, healthy air, biodiversity, and Canadian J Political Sci 40(1):129156
agricultural subsistence. From a social outlook, the popu- Devlin J, Tubino DI (2012) Contention, participation, and mobiliza-
lation of Itabira must cope with stresses including limited tion in environmental assessment follow-up: the Itabira experi-
ence. Sustainability 8(1):106115
opportunities outside mining, job insecurity, and living
Eggert RG (ed) (1994) Mining and the environment: International
next to the mine. These challenges indicate that, from a perspectives on Public Policy. Resources for the Futures,
holistic view, there are serious threats to resilience in Washington DC
Itabira. Enrquez MAR (2008) Curse or blessing? The mineral rent used by
the larger mining cities in Brazil. Universidade Federal do Para.
As this resilience assessment reveals, there are a range
[online] URL:
of governance agents with the ability to recognize the pdf. Accessed 17 Jan 2014
vulnerabilities of the system and begin planning accord- Folke CS, Carpenter T, Elmqvist T, Gunderson L, Holling CS,
ingly. Unfortunately, moving from planning to action Walker B (2002) Resilience and sustainable development:
building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. Ambio
outside specific conditions of the state-led LOC is stalled.
Little collaboration is evident among key players, and Fonseca A, Fitzpatrick P, McAllister ML (2013) Government and
without collaboration, resilience remains elusive. voluntary policymaking for sustainability in mining towns: A

Environmental Management (2014) 53:481495 495

longitudinal analysis of Itabira, Brazil. Nat Res Forum Plummer R, Armitage D (2007) A resilience-based framework for
37(4):211220 evaluating adaptive co-management: Linking ecology, econom-
Forbis T, Provencher L, Frid L, Medlyn G (2006) Great Basin land ics and society in a complex world. Ecol Econ 61(1):6274.
management planning using ecological modeling. Environ doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.09.025
Manag 38(1):6283 Portal ODM (2010) Millennium development goals portal http://
Freudenburg WR (1992) Addictive economies: extractive industries
and vulnerable localities in a changing world economy. Rural 20240. Accessed 21 Aug 2013
Sociol 57:32305 Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) (2006) Atlas de Itabira. MP
Guimaraes LA, Teixeira LN (2003) Transtornos mentais e trabalho Comunicacao Ltd, Belo Horizonte
em turnos alternados em operarios de mineracao de ferro em Prefeitura Municipal de Itabira (PMI) (2012). Projeto Mosaico. Meio
itabira (MG) / Mental disorders and alternated shift work of iron Ambiente Melhor. [online] URL: http://meioambientemelhor.
ore mining industry workers in Itabira, MG, Brazil. Jornal Accessed 13 Aug 2011
brasileiro de psiquiatria 52(4):283289 QSR International (2010) NVivo9 [Computer Software]. QSR
Gunderson LH (2000) Ecological resiliencein theory and applica- International, New York
tion. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 31:425439 Ralph J, Chau I (2011) Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Healey MC (2009) Resilient salmon, resilient fisheries for British Accessed 21
Columbia, Canada. Ecology and Society 14(1):2. [online] URL: Aug 2013 Accessed 17 Resilience Alliance (2010) Assessing resilience in social-ecological
Jan 2014 systems: Workbook for practitioners. Version 2.0. http://www.
Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatstica (IBGE) (2010) Minas Accessed 13 Aug 2012
GeraisItabira. [online] URL: Sagebien J, Lindsay N, Campbell P, Cameron R, Smith N (2008) The
topwindow.htm?1. Accessed 21 Aug 2013 corporate social responsibility of Canadian mining companies in
Instituto Brasileiro de Mineracao (IBRAM) (2010) Information and Latin America: a systems perspective. Canadian Foreign Policy J
analysis of the Brazilian minerals economy: 5th addition. 14(3):103128. doi:10.1080/11926422.2008.9673477
Brasilia: Instituto Brasileiro de Mineracao. [online] URL: Shandro JA, Veiga MN, Shoveller J, Scoble M, Koehoorn M (2011) Acces- Perspectives on community health issues and the mining boom-
sed 21 Aug 2013 bust cycle. Res Policy 36(2):178186
Kapelus P (2002) Mining, corporate social responsibility and the Smith M, Parkins J (2011) Community Response to Forestry
Community: The Case of Rio Tinto, Richards Bay Minerals Transition in Rural Canada: Analysis of Media and Census Data
and the Mbonambi. J Bus Ethics 39(3):275296. doi:10.1023/A: for Six Case Study Communities in New Brunswick and British
1016570929359 Columbia. Rural Economy Project Report. Faulty of Agricul-
Minayo MCS, Cavalcante FG, Souza ERd (2006) Methodological tural, Life and Environmental Science, University of Alberta
proposal for studying suicide as a complex phenomenon. Smith J, Moore R, Anderson D, Siderelis C (2012) Community
Cadernos de Saude Publica 22:15871596 resilience in Southern Appalachia: a theoretical framework and
Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development North America three case studies. Human Ecol 40(3):341353. doi:10.1007/
(MMSD) (2002) Seven questions to sustainability: How to s10745-012-9470-y
assess the contribution of mining and minerals activities. Souza e Siva MGS, Guimaraes MRS (2002) Itabiravulnerabilidade
International Institute for Sustainable Development, Winnipeg ambiental: impactos e riscos socioambientais advindos da
Municipio De Itabira, Minas (2006). Plano Diretor: Lei Complemen- mineracao em area urbana. Fundacao Comunitaria de Ensino
tar N.8 4.034, de 16 de Novembro de 2006. Institui o Plano Superior de Itabira. Paper Presented at the XIII Meeting of the
Diretor de Desenvolvimento Sustentavel de Itabira e da outras Brazilian Association of Population Studies. [online] URL:
providencias. [online] URL:
salvar_arquivo.aspx?cdLocal=2&arquivo={B1DC1ED8-1E5E- MA_ST37_Silva_texto.pdf. Accessed 17 Jan 2014
B8D0-B465-856AC7ACAA2A}.pdf. Accessed 13 Aug 2011 State Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development of
Neil C, Tykkylainen M, Bradbury J (1992) Coping with closure: An Minas Gerais (SEMAD) (2011) Portal.
international comparison of mine town experiences. Routledge, Accessed 13 Aug 2011
New York Tubino DIS, Yap NT, Devlin JF (2011) Vale and its corporate
Norberg J, Cumming GS (2008) Complexity Theory for a sustainable sustainability performance in Itabira, Brazil: is the glass half full
future. Columbia University Press, New York or half empty? Impact Assess Proj Apprais 29(2):151157.
Olivo G, Gauthier M, Williams-Jones A, Levesque M (2001) The doi:10.3152/146155111X12913679730638
AuPd Mineralization at the Conceicao Iron Mine, Itabira Vale (2009 (July 30)) Form 6K: Vale S.A. Report of foreign issuer
District, Southern Sao Francisco Craton, Brazil: An example of a rules 13a-16 and 15d- 16 of the Securities Exchange Act United
jacutinga-type deposit. Econ Geol 96:6174 States Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC
Plieninger T, Bieling C (2012) Connecting cultural landscapes to Walker B, Salt D (2006) Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems
resilience. In: Plieninger T, Bieling C (eds) Resilience and the and people in a changing world. Island Press, Washington
cultural landscape: understanding and managing change in Wasylycia-Leis J (2012) Striving for sustainability amid single-
human-shaped environments, vol Chapter 1. Cambridge Univer- industry dependence: community resilience and Vale in Itabira.
sity Press, New York University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg