Archive | Vale

Global mining panel looks to boost accountability after Brazil disaster – by Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – September 11, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) – New safety standards being drawn up by a global mining industry panel will include rules to better define management accountability after Vale SA’s (VALE3.SA) January tailings dam disaster, a top industry official said on Wednesday.

The governance standards would help ensure independent reviews of dams and adequate disclosure of risks, said Tom Butler, president of the International Council on Mining and Metals.

“The engineers know what they’re doing with these things but the implementation and the management and the change management, that all involves humans,” Butler told Reuters in an interview in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Nickel Ore Export Ban Is Good for Indonesia: Vale – by Nur Yasmin (Jakarta Globe – August 27, 2019)

https://jakartaglobe.id/

Jakarta. Vale Indonesia, the country’s largest nickel producer, said the government’s planned ore export ban will give the country a strategic advantage and bring positive impact to the local nickel industry and the Indonesian economy in the long term.

The government now wants the ban to start taking effect in October, three years earlier than the initial plan’s 2022 target.

The Indonesian Nickel Mining Association has voiced their objection to the plan, saying that it would disrupt their members’ contractual obligations and business plans. Continue Reading →

Voisey’s Bay underground development hits 10% completion (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – August 28, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

Workers staying on floating hotel while work on new living quarters underway

The quest to mine nickel from beneath the ground at Voisey’s Bay in Labrador is picking up steam with more than 430 workers on site. Joao Zanon, the project director for Vale, said the team ran into challenges in the early stages of the project during the harsh northern Labrador winter.

Once the snow melted and summer arrived, the project ramped up. A little over 10 per cent of the underground development is now complete, with a goal to be operational in the first half of 2020.

“We’ve picked up the development quite a lot in the past months and the speed will continue to increase as we … are able to mobilize more people to work underground,” Zanon said. Continue Reading →

Gold rush-era rules to stop mining pollution are still in use – but they’re failing – by Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies (The Conversation – August 14, 2019)

https://theconversation.com/

Bento Rodrigues, Brazil, 6 November 2015

Wet, orange mud covers everything: streets, houses, cars, animals, trees, fields. The violent force of a torrent of mud has overturned cars and left them hovering on top of buildings. It has torn the roofs off houses and pushed over their walls.

The view of the town from helicopters flying above reveals a desolate landscape: sludge-caked animals struggle to free themselves, and rescue teams search desperately for survivors. Mud dyes the river orange for hundreds of kilometres downstream, and two weeks later it will flow out into the Atlantic in an expanding orange stain.

This devastation is the result of the catastrophic failure of a tailings dam: a vast settling pond built to store the muddy waste from Samarco’s Germano iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

A dam collapse in Brazil has some worried about PolyMet’s plans. Why the DNR says it won’t happen here – by Walker Orenstein (MinnPost.com – August 13, 2019)

https://www.minnpost.com/

In January, the tailings dam at a Brazilian iron ore mine collapsed, killing nearly 250 people. The wave of toxic waste and mud also wrecked two dozen buildings and polluted water for five miles.

In Minnesota, the disaster raised eyebrows among opponents of a copper-nickel mine planned near Hoyt Lakes. That’s because the design of the dam in Brumadinho was similar to one PolyMet Mining hopes to build. In fact, the Vale mining company had used a method to judge dam safety created by a PolyMet adviser.

And the tragedy in Brazil embodied the worst fears of some Minnesota environmental activists and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who warn PolyMet could pollute the St. Louis River. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale dam disasters trigger $2 billion in fresh writedowns – by Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – July 31, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE3.SA) on Wednesday said it swung to a quarterly loss as the company announced more than $2 billion in fresh writedowns related to two deadly dam bursts suffered by the company over a period of less than four years.

In late January, the collapse of a Vale tailings dam storing muddy mining waste near the town of Brumadinho killed nearly 250 people, less than four years after a deadly disaster at the company’s Samarco joint venture with BHP Group (BHP.AX).

The world’s largest iron ore exporter has since been grappling with the fallout, which has forced it to shake up its board, replace its CEO and made it the target of various criminal and regulatory probes. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto to take iron ore crown as Vale struggles – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – July 23, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Rio Tinto is on track to become the world’s biggest iron ore exporter in 2019 after trouble-prone Brazilian miner Vale revealed weaker-than-expected exports over the past three months.

The surprisingly weak performance from Vale came as African iron ore miner Kumba joined the industry trend for reduced export targets, and as Vale reiterated that it could be three years before it resumed shipping at full speed.

Vale was always expected to ship less iron ore this year after the catastrophic dam failures in January that killed hundreds of people and forced the company to halt about 90 million tonnes of annual production capacity. Continue Reading →

One day longer 10 years later – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – July 22, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

In July, 2009, more than 3,000 Steelworkers walked off the job in Sudbury after failing to strike a deal with Inco’s new owner, the Brazilian mining giant Vale. A decade later, we look back at how it all started and what it all meant

In the months leading to the strike at Vale in 2009, a major confrontation seemed both impossible and inevitable. There was talk almost immediately in the mining industry that, having purchased Inco in 2006, the only way the deal made sense for the Brazilian multinational was to undo the benefits package the Steelworkers had fought for in collective bargaining that ensured retirees a guaranteed income.

Defined benefits, as it was known, protected workers from inflation, from the ups and downs of markets. The nickel bonus, too, which saw workers paid more when nickel prices were high, was also a major obstacle in Vale’s view of things, as were restrictions on using contractors. For the company, these sorts of benefits represented unacceptable long-term costs and risks that threatened the viability of their Canadian purchase.

Anyone who has ever been in a union can tell you that heading into negotiations for a new contract, improvements are the goal, and concessions are the red line that can’t be crossed. For a union such as the United Steelworkers of America, headed by Sudbury’s own Leo Gerard, such concessions were unthinkable. Continue Reading →

Brazil Judge Orders Mining Company To Pay For Damage From Dam Disaster – by Merrit Kennedy (National Public Radio – July 10, 2019)

https://www.npr.org/

A Brazilian judge has ordered mining giant Vale S.A. to pay for all damage caused by a ruptured dam that unleashed a torrent of mine waste and killed at least 247 people in January.

The disaster in the small city of Brumadinho was one of Brazil’s worst-ever industrial accidents. Twenty-three people are still missing from the rupture that engulfed many of the company’s workers and nearby residents in the muddy waste.

Judge Elton Pupo Nogueira ruled that Vale should be held responsible for the cost of repairing all damage caused by the incident. The judge did not give a dollar figure for how much the company should pay, saying the tragedy’s consequences cannot be quantified only by technical-scientific criteria, according to a statement on the court’s website. Continue Reading →

Vale CFO Should Face Criminal Indictment for Dam, Panel Says – by Maria Luiza Rabello, Sabrina Valle and Vinicius Andrade (Bloomberg News – July 2, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A Brazilian Senate committee is expected to recommend that 12 current and former executives of Vale SA, including Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani and ex-Chief Executive Officer Fabio Schvartsman, face criminal indictments for a fatal dam disaster in January.

The rapporteur of the committee proposed the indictments Tuesday after a 2-1/2-month congressional inquiry into the causes of the dam break that left at least 246 people dead and unleashed a sea of mud over the city of Brumadinho, where Vale had an inactive iron ore mine. His report says the company was negligent and its risk and compliance controls were flawed.

If approved, as expected, the report will be sent to several Brazilian authorities, including federal and state police and prosecutors, as well as the governor of Minas Gerais and the ministries of energy and environment. Continue Reading →

Editorial: A year after smelter/refinery closure, Thompson worse for wear but not down for the count (Thompson Citizen – July 3, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

About a year ago at this time, Thompson was awaiting the last round of layoffs from Vale’s Manitoba Operations and approaching the end of an era as nickel mining operations in Thompson, for the first time in their history, prepared to move from a fully integrated model that took nickel from the ground and refined it into its final product, to a mining-and-milling model, in which ore would be extracted and milled and then shipped off to Sudbury, Ont. for smelting and refining.

At the time, many people were – justifiably – concerned about what this change might mean for Thompson.

Looking back, the transition has been hard, especially for those who lost their jobs, but Thompson is not on the ropes economically, at least not yet, though the local economy has absorbed some pretty heavy body blows as a result of Vale shrinking its Thompson operations. Continue Reading →

The Winners and Losers From Surging Iron Ore Prices – by Michael Msika (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 21, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — In the world of metals and mining, sometimes it’s better to sell the raw product rather than the finished one.

This seems to be a lesson for investors who chose to hold shares in ArcelorMittal rather than Rio Tinto Group this year. Despite nagging trade tensions and fears about global growth, Rio is up 30% in 2019, while the world’s biggest steelmaker has dropped 16%.

Global diversified miners have rewarded investors with record payouts and benefited from soaring iron-ore prices due to the supply concerns that followed Vale SA’s dam disaster in January. At the same time, Chinese mills have continued to set new production records, consuming more of the steelmaking ingredient. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Vale opens the books on Sudbury tailings dams following collapse in Brazil (CBC News Sudbury – June 19, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Mining giant releases report detailing its dozens of tailings dams in the Sudbury basin

Vale says it is currently doing work to stabilize some of its tailings dams in Sudbury, but stresses that there is no risk to the public.

The company this month released a report on the state of its dams around the world that it says was asked for by a large group of investors represented by the Church of England, following the collapse of a Vale dam in Brazil in January that killed 270 people.

The report includes dozens of dams that Vale manages in the Sudbury basin to hold mining waste, some dating back to 1929. Continue Reading →

Manitoba: Rupture of Thompson’s tailing dams could kill nearly 100 people, Vale reveals – by Ian Froese (CBC News Manitoba – June 17, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/

Active mine dam in Thompson, Man., records a ‘very high’ hazard rating

A mining giant reeling from a deadly dam collapse in Brazil says it is investigating one of its dams in Thompson, Man., over fears a rupture could kill as many as 100 people.

Vale revealed one of the six active mine dams in the northern Manitoba city recorded a “very high” hazard rating, as determined by the Canadian Dam Association, which means a collapse could result in up to 100 deaths, significant loss of environmental and cultural values and “very high economic losses” affecting important infrastructure.

The mining company disclosed the safety of its dam operations worldwide, after facing pressure from the Church of England Pensions Board and a group of Swedish investors in the wake of a January dam failure at Brumadinho, Brazil, that killed 270 people. Continue Reading →

After rubbing shoulders with U.S. presidents, Sudbury’s Leo Gerard coming home for retirement – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Northern Ontario Business – June 12, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Veteran USW boss speaks of growing up in Lively, his long career (including dancing with Michelle Obama) and his lasting impressions of a historic strike in Sudbury

After a career in which he rubbed shoulders with world leaders – including U.S. presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama – Steelworkers International president Leo Gerard said he’s retiring to his hometown of Sudbury. He said he still has a home and a camp here, despite working out of Pittsburgh.

“My kids and my grandkids are getting old,” said Gerard in a recent interview with Sudbury.com following the announcement last month he’s retiring as of mid-July. “I’ve got a camp on Nepewassi. I didn’t put my boat in for three years.”

The 72-year-old Gerard, who’s served the Steelworkers for more than 50 years, has been the Steelworkers International president since 2001. His successor is Tom Conway, who has served alongside Gerard as Steelworkers International vice-president. Continue Reading →