Brazilian mining giant Vale has entered into a contract to enable the supply of natural gas to the São Luís Plant in Maranhão, starting in 2024, thus consolidating the use of this fuel in all its pellet plants. The initiative contributes to the goal of reducing its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 33% by 2030. In addition to São Luís, the company operates pellet plants in Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Sohar in Oman. With the contracts signed on Thursday with Eneva, a supplier of natural gas, and Companhia Maranhense de Gás, the distributor that will take the fuel to the plant, the São Luís plant will stop using fuel oil in its furnace, with an estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of the exchange, of up to 28%.This initiative will additionally represent a reduction in fuel costs, considering that natural gas is cheaper than fuel oil. Another relevant aspect is that the recent regulation implemented by the gas law, as part of the sector’s unbundling movement, makes it possible for this contract to be carried out within the scope of the Free Market. This action, therefore, signals adherence to the national movement to open up the natural gas market, which advocates a more dynamic and competitive environment.The contracting of natural gas also brings an important social bias to Maranhão. This is because it is part of Vale’s Share Program, which provides for social investments by the supply chain, creating an integrated network committed to sustainable socio-economic development in the region. The initiative is in line with the company’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda, aimed at communities and promoting social progress in the locations where it operates.Distributor Gasmar will implement an unprecedented natural gas distribution network in the state of Maranhão, connecting the port of Itaqui to the company's area, in the Itaqui-Bacanga region. The new network can create conditions for the use of gas by other industries and segments in the region. The supply is expected to start in 2024.