Vale reopens Itabira but pandemic threats persist – by Reese Ewing (Australian Financial Review – June 23, 2020)

Sao Paulo | Vale’s Itabira mine is back up and running this week after the Brazilian mining giant convinced local health authorities that new measures would contain the spread of COVID-19 among its workers.

The mine was producing 2.7 million tonnes a month before a local court in the state of Minas Gerais this month shut it down for almost two weeks on reports that 200 workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

Vale got clearance late last week to resume operations after clarifying its safety protocols and amending some of its policies. The miner estimates it lost about 1 million tonnes of output over the 12-day shutdown, but again stuck by its revised 2020 guidance of 310-330 million tonnes.

Vale’s assurances this week come as Brazil’s total COVID-19 caseload hit 1.1 million, and its death total topped 51,000, behind only the United States on both counts.

Australia’s population is 12 per cent of Brazil’s, but its caseload is less than 0.7 per cent of South America’s biggest country’s, and its death toll 0.2 per cent.

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