Technical Partnership launches guides for preservation of caves and sustainable management of Environmental Heritage

The Brazilian Society of Speleology (SBE), Votorantim Cimentos and the Atlantic Biosphere Forest Reserve (RBMA) presented on Wednesday, August 10th, the main results achieved through the five years of joint collaboration between these organizations. 

In a commemorative seminar held in São Paulo, this Technical Cooperation partnership launched the Guide to Good Environmental Practices in Limestone Mining in Karst Areas, which seeks to contribute to the preservation of caves, and the Sustainable Land Management Plan, focused on the sustainable management of Environmental Heritage. 

"These two educational publications are the most important products developed in five years of partnership, and a contribution to society as a whole.  They compile information and best practices that can also be replicated by other companies," says Votorantim Cimentos' Global Technical Director, Alvaro Lorenz. 

Developed as a tool to classify assets in private properties, the Sustainable Land Management Plan (PGTS) was jointly put together by the members of the Partnership after they identified a gap in this market. 

"The characterization of assets contributed to the assessment of possible social and environmental projects to be developed. This is an unprecedented model that can contribute to conceptual and methodological advances in the planning and management of land controlled by companies in sectors such as mining, forestry, agriculture, energy, among others," says Clayton Lino, president of the Atlantic Biosphere Forest Reserve. 

Primarily aimed at company properties that cover large areas or areas of relevant environmental importance, both due to their location or due to environmental assets that they might house, the PGTS was based on two examples of good practice developed by Votorantim Cimentos: in Ribeirao Grande, south of São Paulo, and in Laranjeiras, Sergipe. 

The surveys in these areas identified important remnants of Atlantic Forest and mangroves, hundreds of springs and caves to be preserved, and a rich archaeological, historical and cultural heritage. The region of Ribeirão Grande, for example, is surrounded by Intervales Park, and is located about 10 kilometers from the Guapiara mining area, where we can find important caves like Pavais Cave, the fifth largest in the state. "In addition to identifying such elements, PGTS proposes ways to turn them into assets that benefit the company, its surroundings and society in general," adds Lino. 

The main goal of the Guide to Good Environmental Practices in Limestone Mining in Karst Areas, developed by SBE in partnership with Votorantim Cimentos and the Reserve of the Atlantic Biosphere Forest Reserve, is cave preservation. Currently, approximately 70% of the caves are formed in karst areas (with presence of limestone). 

"The guide strives to provide society with information about karst environments, their formation, their ecological and evolutionary importance and good industry practices, often unknown.  This also contribute to the education of mining professionals on the importance of these environments and their vulnerability," explains Marcelo Rasteiro, President of the Brazilian Society of Speleology. "This is the first publication that connects extractive activities with karst systems, issues that, despite their great importance in the mining sector, have been separately addressed until now." 

Specifically developed for cement and limestone mining companies, the guide is intended for use by mining company employees, government agencies and consultants responsible for planning, operating or decommissioning limestone mines.

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