On October 31, partners of the Brazil-Norway Biodiversity Research Consortium (BRC) signed and extended the partnership agreement for another five years. Established in 2013, BRC creates research programs strengthening the preservation of natural biodiversity of mined areas.
The Biodiversity Research Consortium Brazil-Norway consists of the University of Oslo, Norway, and its Brazilian partners Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Federal University of Pará and Federal Rural University of the Amazon in addition to Hydro.
The scope of the consortium is to create a research program connected to Hydro’s mining operations. The aim is to strengthen Hydro's ability to preserve the natural biodiversity of the areas where the company mine bauxite. Following the establishment of BRC in 2013, the partnership was further strengthened in January 2016 through a new research collaboration agreement between the Research Council of Norway and the state of Pará.
During a BRC seminar hosted in Belém, capital of Pará state in Brazil, the partners renewed the BRC collaboration agreement for another five years.
"We are committed to long-term sustainable development and we believe this agreement will promote collaboration in fact-finding, seeking solutions that will support recovering mined areas into a state that in terms of biodiversity is the same or even better than it was prior to mining," says Silvio Porto, executive vice president and head of Hydro’s business area Bauxite & Alumina.
In its first four years of existence, studies supported by the agreement have recorded two new species of insects in the Amazon, led to discovery of eight new species of fungi in Brazil, of which three new species are found in the Amazon region.
The partnership also generated 13 approved research projects related to different themes such as greenhouse gases, fungi, crustaceans, fish, birds, mammals, flora, botany, soils, and insects. In total, approximately 100 professionals have participated in the studies under the agreement, including doctors, master's degree students, graduate students, and technicians who are writing scientific papers. This includes five masters' dissertations completed, and another 22 papers that will be published later this year.
Results from the research projects are already being implemented in Hydro’s mining operation
“We see improvement in the top soil management of the Paragominas mine as a direct result of the knowledge retrieved from the BRC work. Another example is optimization of reforestation techniques, dependent on the location, which are yielding improved results,” says Bernt Malme, vice president in Hydro’s environment unit.