Archive | Vale

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 →

Vale says hopes to reach dam burst global settlements by year-end – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters U.S. – June 13, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale said on Thursday that it expects to reach global settlements covering economic and environmental damages from the January collapse of its Brumadinho tailings dam by late this year or in 2020.

Vale is scrambling to deal with the fallout from the disaster, which killed at least 246 people, triggered the replacement of its CEO and an overhaul of its board, and has forced it to set aside billions for compensation and cleanup costs.

Investors have been closely watching its ongoing talks with prosecutors and regulators on the terms of a global settlement to see how much higher the price tag from the disaster will be. Continue Reading →

Dozens of Rio tailings dams would be high hazards if they failed – by Darren Gray (Sydney Morning Herald – June 12, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Dozens of Rio Tinto tailings dams around the world would generate a “high” hazard if they were to fail, according to an audit of the global miner’s tailings dams.

The audit, released late on Wednesday, reveals just over 40 of Rio Tinto’s tailings storage facilities are deemed to have at least a “high” hazard consequence in the event of a failure, including three that were assigned a “very high” rating.

The three deemed “very high” are all outside of Australia, with one in Chile, one in Brazil and the other in Canada. Mining companies have faced intense scrutiny of their approach to tailings dams after the devastating collapse of a dam in January at Vale’s Brumadinho iron ore mine in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Mine tailings failures are the shame of the mining industry – by Len Gillis (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – June 2019)

http://www.sudburyminingsolutions.com/

Mining engineer Paul Rantala of Sudbury is hoping more people in his industry will take a fresh look at the issue of tailings dams safety. He is not alone.

Rantala was commenting on the disastrous failure of the tailings dam at the Córrego de Feijão mine, near the community of Brumadinho in Brazil on January 25, 2019. It is believed that more than 400 persons died when millions of litres of mud and tailings swept through a low-lying area for several kilometres.

The tailings failure occurred at the mine owned by Vale S.A., an international mining company based in Brazil, which also has several operations in Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Vale, Glencore both earn medals at annual mine rescue challenge – by Staff (Sudbury Northern Life – June 10, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Jean-Yves Doiron, a mine rescue technician with Vale Canada in Sudbury, won the award for top technician

Mine rescue volunteers from K+S Windsor Salt Ojibway Mine donned the champions’ gold hard hats at the 70th annual Ontario Mine Rescue Provincial Competition last week. The event was held this year at the Red Lake Gold Mines in Red Lake, Ont.

K+S Windsor Salt Ojibway Mine was also awarded the John Guthrie (Special Equipment) Award during the closing banque June 7. The team won the Southern District mine rescue competition in Goderich in May.

The Windsor Salt mine rescue team consisted of: Captain Adam Schraeder, No. 2 Al Gernon, No. 3 Dillon Perry, No. 4 Joe Schraeder, Vice-captain Phillip Schraeder, No. 6 Ethan Kirby, Briefing Officer Matt Stefanic. Continue Reading →

Swiss expert to start work on new standards for mining dam safety – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – June 9, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – A Swiss environmental expert will make a fact-finding trip this week to the site of the Vale dam disaster in Brazil to start work on setting new dam safety standards for miners.

The safety of dams used to store mining waste, known as tailings, gained prominence after the collapse of Vale’s dam at Brumadinho, Brazil in January that killed about 250 people. It was the second Vale tailings dam collapse in Brazil in less than four years.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said in March it was working on new standards with the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and ethical investors’ body the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Continue Reading →

Major miners reveal tailings dam data, action plans following disasters – by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Sangameswaran S (Reuters U.S. – June 7, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Global miners BHP Group, Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc revealed details on tailings dams, months after ethical investors sought the information following a second deadly dam disaster in Brazil.

BHP, which operates 67 tailings facilities, said on Friday it has set up a tailings taskforce to further improve its focus on internal dam management and boost safety.

The world’s biggest miner added that a review undertaken to assess the management of tailings facilities following the 2015 Samarco disaster, which killed 19 people, had identified no immediate concerns regarding dam integrity. Continue Reading →