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30 August 2018

Located next to our Minas-Rio project, the Science Centre in Concei??o do Mato Dentro, Brazil, is the 8,000 m2 home to a variety of interactive exhibition spaces.

Opened in 2014, the centre was designed to showcase how mineral extraction and biodiversity can coexist cohesively and features a themed workshop, seedling nursery and an amphitheatre.

“Opened in 2014, the centre features two permanent exhibition rooms, one of which showcases the human history of the region.”

We sat down with our Safety & Sustainable Development Corporate Manager in Brazil, Luciano Pohl, to discover his top five things to know about the Science Centre:

  1. Can you tell us more about the what the Science Centre does and how Anglo American is involved?

    It might appear unusual to some for a mining company to run a science centre, but it is a natural fit for Anglo American as our Minas-Rio project is located nearby. We wanted to share knowledge about the natural environment that we were working in and give back to the local community.

    We invested £1 million into developing and establishing the Science Centre during the licencing process of the Minas-Rio project. Additionally, we co-developed the activities programme with the AMDA, a Brazilian non-governmental organisation focused on defence of the environment, which implements the projects to educate and engage.

    Since opening in 2014, the centre has demonstrated how the different geological, archaeological and environmental features have influenced our presence in the region, and our effort to preserve the native biodiversity. Through scheduled visits, visitors can discover the cultural and geographical landscape, and the history of the region, via interactive exhibitions, videos and some 200 archaeological artefacts.

  2. What would you say are the essential highlights of the Science Centre?

    The Science Centre is home to a variety of activities. To begin, I’d recommend visiting our permanent exhibition rooms which focus on the mountainous Serra do Sapo and Serra da Ferrugem landscapes. The exhibitions explore the variety of native fauna and flora, such as ocelots and cougars, and the Bahia rosewood. The second room examines the human history of the region including Anglo American’s nearby Minas-Rio operation.

    I would also recommend visiting the seedling nursery and beautiful butterfly enclosure. Both of these spaces in the centre showcase a sample of the region’s vegetation and the incredible species that live in the surrounding environment. These spaces also include interactive educational activities to explore plant life and the reproduction process of butterflies.

  3. Out of Anglo American’s regions of operation, what is particularly special about Concei??o do Mato Dentro?

    The region is not only home to our Minas-Rio mine, but it also has a distinctive biological and mineral identity. Species local to the area, such as Vellozia, along with the iron ore and quartz deposits makes Concei??o do Mato Dentro particularly unique. The region is beautiful, and we knew we had to protect it.

    As the area is so special, our aim was to improve the quality of education in local schools and – as the region also lacked a public education space – we knew Concei??o do Mato Dentro would really benefit from a facility which demonstrated the region’s landscape, culture and history.

  4. Who would you say could learn the most from visiting the centre?

    We’ve already had 20,000 visitors, mainly from the region’s public schools, as well as people from the communities surrounding the Minas-Rio mine. We are really proud to have created such a rich resource for the local schools and be able to educate young people about the history and significance of their local region.

    Of course, there is also plenty for keen enthusiasts of environmental diversity to discover too, and the centre is always looking to new exhibits to keep patrons interested.

  5. There’s so much happening at the centre now, but we’re curious, what’s coming up next?

    We always want our research is positively impacting the local region. One particularly important project for us is our Ironstone Rupestrian (on rock) Field Garden, which is located within the site.

    An experiment is being conducted into whether vegetation can grow on top of rock surfaces. This involves attempting to grow seedlings on “canga”, which is a top layer of earth removed from the deployment area of the Minas-Rio mine. This is an important project for us because it will demonstrate that we can transport the mineral-rich earth growing in the mine pit into rehabilitation areas once the mine closes.

    Through experiments like this and our wider work, we’re proud that our Science Centre showcases how responsible mining and biodiversity can exist side-by-side.

“Through scheduled visits, visitors can discover the cultural and geographical landscape of the region, via over 200 archaeological artefacts.”

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