Mariana, the first town in Minas Gerais, is the symbol and cradle of mining. It is the guardian of our history and our best traditions. All people from Minas Gerais carry a bit of Mariana in their soul.
Therefore, the 2015 Fundao dam tragedy did not only shake up the municipality. The pain and grief of the people of Mariana was the pain and grief of Minas Gerais. Repairing what was lost, in every possible way, has become a mission of all people from Minas Gerais. Unfortunately, there are losses that can never be replaced.
The Renova Foundation was born in 2016 with this objective: to coordinate and execute reparatory and compensatory actions throughout the area impacted by the Fundao.
As a result of an extensive agreement signed by dozens of entities, – including the Federal Government, State Governments of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, municipal agencies, the River Basin Committees and private companies -, the actions of the Renova Foundation are backed by the Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Agreement (TTAC).
Since then, with the participation and continuous support of the Mariana Municipal Office, the Renova Foundation has carried out – and has been executing – works and initiatives in areas such as resettlement; containment and tailings management; infrastructure and environmental restoration; psycho-pedagogical and psychosocial support; technical assistance programs for farmers; and training of local labor and suppliers. The resettlement actions, for example, are opening approximately 4,500 jobs directed primarily to the population of Mariana.
So far, this set of actions has mobilized resources of around R$ 1.9 billion.
We are aware that not everything has worked out as we would like to or would be ideal for the community. But we are learning and working extremely hard to improve our performance.
Exactly this learning experience showed us that it is time to take a new step.
A step that will put the Renova Foundation initiatives one step on top of the specific repair actions, bringing visible benefits to the society of Mariana.
This is a new moment, with a clear objective of preparing Mariana for the future.
And what does that mean?
It means being an active part of a coordinated effort with the Mariana population and its leaders, that has as its goal the construction of actions and solutions that give the municipality the necessary conditions to consolidate a sustainable, diversified and inclusive economy, with a positive impact on the population’s quality of life.
It means working to leave a legacy, Mariana, a town capable of building a safe route for its development.
Of course, preparing a municipality for the future is not an easy task.
It requires a special and attentive look at the various social strata of the population and their demands. It requires expanding dialogue and partnership with all sectors of society. It requires knowing the natural vocations of the municipality and what can be innovated by seeking new vocations. It demands awareness of the world and what new times are bringing, and how all of this can create new opportunities. Our legacy, therefore, will be built by dozens of hands to benefit thousands of people.
The challenge now is to transform the TTAC’s actions into inducing fronts of economic and social development, which go through short, medium- and long-term initiatives, both in terms of improving infrastructure and encouraging education and entrepreneurship.
In this context, it is necessary to see the so-called creative economy, which includes sectors such as tourism, gastronomy and innovative solutions, and at the same time the already established economy, which in Mariana is strongly represented by mining and services.
Work needs to be done to encourage productive chains in key sectors such as tourism (for business, historical, cultural and religious interest), agribusiness (especially family farming), industry and mining. Empower more and more people and companies to fit into these productive chains and become the driving forces of new chains.
The economy needs to be diversified, thus avoiding the dangerous dependence on a single sector.
Diversification of the economy, by the way, is one of the main challenges to ensure Mariana’s development for the present and future, and based on this perspective most of the initiatives mentioned above fit in.
This is our goal for Mariana, translating the deep respect we have for the municipality and its population.
The conversations we have had with the Mariana Municipal Office and several representative entities of society has allowed us to define a first set of short- and medium-term actions, with a positive and noticeable impact on the population, focused on a sustainable future.
These actions, which are expected to be finalized by the Interfederative Committee (CIF) and the other parties of the governance system, amount to an estimated of R$ 100 million.
- Revitalization of Gomes Freire Square, also known as Jardim Square, a reference in the service sector and meeting point for people of Mariana and those visiting the city;
- Contributions to encourage tourism, one of the main local productive chains with huge potential for income generation;
- Reactivation and strengthening of the dairy cooperative, an old aspiration of the town. The cooperative will be important to reestablish the milk supply chain, benefiting small farmers. Works are expected to begin in October/19;
- Implementation of the Entrepreneur’s House to create a space that develops a culture of entrepreneurship in the town, opening a multitude of new opportunities;
- Acquisition of the necessary infrastructure and technical advice to prepare the Georeferencing and the Mariana Master Plan, which is also part of a larger project of orderly and sustainable growth for the town;
- The Mariana Sanitary Landfill works are already underway and should be delivered in 18 months. With the construction of the landfill also comes the creation of a fund for the Municipality to manage the necessary operations for five years;
- Renovation and expansion of the Children’s Psychosocial Care Center (CAPSij), so that children and teenagers in Mariana have the necessary structure to overcome present challenges and prepare for the future. Its delivery is expected for the first half of 2020.
In addition to these actions, we have already made progress on two other points: we have begun studies to make the Industrial District of Mariana viable – an important part of the economic diversification agenda – and we have taken the first steps towards the realization of the Cristo Rei subdivision, which will allow the town to expand new affordable housing programs.
It is important to note that all these initiatives will be taken without prejudice to actions already underway, such as resettlement and other infrastructure works, which add up to an additional amount of R$ 600 million.
Finally, we want to remind that nobody builds the future of a town alone.
We want to be part of this construction alongside the affected people, public authorities and civil society in general.
After all, to be lasting, this must be a collective legacy. And to be collective, it must be understood and embraced by all. The future is brighter when we walk in the same direction.