In the heart of Brazil’s Minas Gerais State, mining company Anglo American is building its largest ever iron ore project: the US$8.4-billion Minas–Rio Project. As part of Phase 1 of the project, Anglo American turned to Tetra Tech to carry out the resettlement of 50 families in the municipality of Conceição do Mato Dentro. Tetra Tech’s role included social assistance to assure the economic restoration of the relocated community in its new location by providing agro-ecological assistance and veterinarian services such as managing and ensuring health of community livestock. The project allowed the families to build a new life in a sustainable way, while preserving their values and culture.

Minas–Rio combines mining activities (to an ultimate production level of 26.5 million tons per year), 529 kilometers of pipeline to transport iron ore, and port logistics for product export. The project’s magnitude and global visibility require in-depth technical analysis as well as the best solutions to overcome complex challenges related to water management, infrastructure deployment, and socio-territorial planning, including community resettlement.

Anglo American is developing the required socio-territorial and environmental programs following the guidelines and sustainability standards of the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector banking member of the World Bank Group that is financing the project.

Tetra Tech’s dedicated team of geographers, social psychologists, social workers, agronomists, veterinarians, and agricultural technicians in Brazil created a program so these families can transform the vulnerability associated with relocation into new and better socio-economic opportunity. The Tetra Tech team introduced the families to new technologies and agricultural best practices. We carried out social development activities and measures to preserve and recover the local culture. This program helped the families obtain new territory while maintaining their cultural traditions and gaining economic opportunities.

The results of Tetra Tech’s work show a positive transformation in the lives of vulnerable families. The Minas–Rio’s eventual expansion beyond Phase 1 will entail further negotiated social relocation processes, and the Phase 1 success leaves a lasting impact on the region including a new socio-cultural and economic framework for the local communities.