Archive | Vale

Trust in tailings? Vale dam disaster spurs investors into action – by Barbara Lewis, Simon Jessop and Clara Denina (Reuters U.S. – February 15, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Seeking assurances from Brazilian miner Vale by phone after a second deadly dam disaster in three years is not enough for Sasja Beslik. He plans to fly there himself to get answers.

Beslik, head of sustainable finance at Swedish bank Nordea, blocked the bank’s investment managers from buying any more Vale shares on Jan. 26, the day after a damn filled with mining waste burst its banks, killing hundreds.

He is the latest investor to step back from an industry that is trying to clean up its act. Vale needs to address the risks associated with tailings dams and deal with its waste material safely if it is to prevent an exodus of global funds and stem the recent share price slide. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Brazilian mine tragedy will not be the last tailings dam disaster – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 14, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The collapse of Vale’s Brumadinho iron ore tailings dam in Brazil was both shocking and devastating in its impact. But it was not a one-off event.

It was the 11th serious tailings dam failure in the last decade and such catastrophic events are becoming more frequent, according to researchers at World Mine Tailings Failures (WMTF). Indeed, the number of incidents is going to rise further, according to the U.S. not-for-profit organisation that tracks all recorded tailings storage facility (TSF) failures.

“Without major changes to law and regulation, and to industry practices, and without new technology that substantially reduces risk and increases loss control, our current prediction is for 19 very serious failures between 2018 and 2027.” Continue Reading →

Vale CFO says miner’s top managers were unaware of dam risk report – by Marta Nogueira (Reuters Canada – February 12, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Senior management at Brazilian miner Vale were never shown internal security documents indicating that its dam at Brumadinho was at risk of collapse, the company’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

The CFO, Luciano Siani, was asked about management’s knowledge of the internal documents at a news conference a day after Reuters reported on them. The documents, dated Oct. 3, 2018, classified the dam at Brumadinho as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

The dam collapsed in late January in one of the deadliest mining disasters in decades. Asked whether the company’s senior management had seen the internal report, Siani said, “No.” Continue Reading →

Opinion: Welcome to the accidental iron ore boom – by Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald – February 13, 2019)

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

Even a month ago it would have seemed fanciful for anyone to suggest iron ore prices would be heading towards $US100 per tonne ($A141.33). But the market dynamics have changed.

Welcome to the accidental mining boom. There is a lot at stake in this latest boom for the profits of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue not to mention the potential swell to the federal government’s coffers.

Just how meaningful the uplift will be for all involved depends on how long the current boomtime prices are sustained. With futures now hitting more than $US96 commodities experts are scrambling to assess how this will play out. Continue Reading →

Anglo’s Cutifani expresses confidence in iron ore tailings technology at Minas Rio – by David McKay (MiningMX – February 12, 2019)

MiningMX

THE Brumadinho dam disaster in Brazil on January 25 could have some far-reaching consequences, but Anglo American CEO, Mark Cutifani, said that the impact on the group’s own activities in the country would be limited.

Brumadinho is the place where Brazil’s state-owned mining company, Vale, operates its Feijao iron ore mine which, in turn, is part of the Paraopeba complex. The complex produced 26.2 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore in Vale’s 2017 financial year, representing 7% of its total output.

It’s the second major tailings dam burst disaster in just over two years in Brazil. In the previous event, a tailings facility burst at Samarco – an operation owned by Vale in joint venture with BHP. Some 19 lives were lost. Continue Reading →

Column: Nickel rally fades, electric vehicle buzz doesn’t – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Was it another false dawn for the nickel market? Last week’s rally to a five-month high of $13,350 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange has gone into sharp reverse. Nickel was trading back at $12,385 on Tuesday.

The trigger for the price surge was concern that Brazilian producer Vale’s nickel operations would suffer some sort of knock-on effect from the devastating tailings collapse at the company’s Brumadinho iron ore mine.

Such fears have proved unfounded. So far. There may still be ramifications for Vale’s Onca Puma ferronickel operations in the state of Para. But nickel’s ability to rally at all in the current gloomy macroeconomic environment is testament to continued investor interest in the metal’s potential demand boost from the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Continue Reading →

The Global Iron Ore Crisis: What’s Next in Four Charts – by Krystal Chia and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg/Yahoo – February 12, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The global iron ore market is reeling from the sustained and expanding impact of Vale SA’s deadly dam breach last month, which has roiled prices and spurred concerns about a shortage.

Since the initial incident in Brazil in late January, the top producer has announced supply cuts of as much as 70 million tons, although it’s said it will try to offset some lost production.

As the drama unfolds, investors, users and producers are grappling with a host of unknowns, starting with how much supply Vale will actually lose this year and next as executives seek to respond to what’s likely the greatest challenge the company has faced. There are other critical variables too, which will help to influence the direction of prices, which sank on Tuesday for a second day. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Brazil miner Vale knew deadly dam had heightened risk of collapse – by Stephen Eisenhammer (Reuters U.K. – February 11, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) – Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, knew last year that the dam in Brazil that collapsed in January and killed at least 165 people had a heightened risk of rupturing, according to an internal document seen by Reuters on Monday.

The report, dated Oct. 3, 2018, classified the dam at Brumadinho in the state of Minas Gerais as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

The previously unreported document is the first evidence that Vale itself was concerned about the safety of the dam. It raises questions as to why an independent audit around the same time guaranteed the dam’s stability and why the miner did not take precautions, such as moving a company canteen that was just downhill from the structure. Continue Reading →

Deadly dam burst prompts investors to review mining stocks – by Jennifer Thompson and Chris Flood (Financial Times – February 10, 2019)

https://www.ft.com/

The collapse of a dam at an iron-ore mine in Brazil just over two weeks ago has prompted investors to review holdings in the business’s owner and triggered questions over how to manage risks and improve practices.

The burst at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinhoon January 25 is one of South America’s worst disasters: at least 150 people died and nearly 200 are still missing.

The dam was operated by Vale, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, and it held back tailings — streams of waste from mines. There are several thousand similar dams worldwide. Continue Reading →

A Tidal Wave of Mud – by Shasta Darlington, James Glanz, Manuela Andreoni, Matthew Bloch, Sergio Peçanha, Anjali Singhvi and Troy Griggs (New York Times – February 9, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A mining dam collapsed and buried more than 150 people. Now Brazil is casting an anxious eye on dozens of dams like it.

BRUMADINHO, BRAZIL — Luiz de Castro was installing lamps at a mining complex in Brazil late last month when a loud blast split the air. He figured it was just a truck tire popping, but a friend knew better. “No, it’s not that!” the friend said. “Run!”

Dashing up a staircase, caked in mud and pelted by flying rocks, Mr. Castro clambered to safety. But as he watched, a wall of mud unleashed by the collapse of a mining dam swallowed his co-workers, he said. Tiago, George, Icaro — they and at least 154 others, all buried alive.

The deluge of toxic mud stretched for five miles, crushing homes, offices and people — a tragedy, but hardly a surprise, experts say. There are 88 mining dams in Brazil built like the one that failed — enormous reservoirs of mining waste held back by little more than walls of sand and silt. And all but four of the dams have been rated by the government as equally vulnerable, or worse. Continue Reading →

‘Time bomb’ warning on mining dam disasters – by David Shukman (BBC News – February 7, 2019)

https://www.bbc.com/

The catastrophic collapse of a dam at a mine in Brazil has exposed a darker side of an industry that the world depends on. At nearly 800 sites across the country and thousands more around the world, dams contain huge loads of mining waste.

One British scientist, Dr Stephen Edwards of UCL, has warned that “we are sitting on a time bomb”. He told BBC News that further disasters were inevitable.

Over the last few days in the heart of Brazil’s mining belt, I’ve been investigating two very different sites where the risks of massive damage seem plausible. One is a vast lake of sludge perched high above a nervous community; the other is an abandoned gold mine at risk of leaking poisons.

Why are there dumps of mining waste? Continue Reading →

Blast may have triggered quake in Sudbury: Vale – by Donald Macdonald (Sudbury Star – February 8, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

No serious damage to Garson Mine or nearby Nickel Rim Mine, companies say.

Work is proceeding at Garson Mine after an earthquake Wednesday that originated at the Vale site but was felt by people residing more than 10 kilometres away.

Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said the company experienced a 2.9 magnitude seismic event at the 5,200 level of the mine shortly after 5 p.m. Fortunately, “no employees were injured as a result of this event,” she noted, and “work is continuing as normal, except in restricted areas of the mine.”

Robson said there was no damage to mobile equipment, “although there is some displaced rock that needs to be addressed, as well as some repair work to infrastructure in the affected area of the mine.” Continue Reading →

Brazil evacuates towns near Vale, ArcelorMittal dams on fears of collapse – by Marta Nogueira and Pedro Fonseca (Reuters U.K. – February 8, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

BELO HORIZONTE/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Some 700 people were evacuated early on Friday from Brazilian towns near two separate tailings dams operated by Vale SA and ArcelorMittal on mounting fears of a recurrence of last month’s deadly dam burst nearby.

The collapse two weeks ago unleashed an avalanche of mud that engulfed nearby buildings and farms, killing an estimated 300 people in Brazil’s deadliest mining disaster.

As evidence mounted that Vale missed warnings of trouble at the dam in the town of Brumadinho, pressure has risen on the firm and other mining companies to bolster safety measures to avoid a recurrence. Continue Reading →

Brazilian state cancels Vale licenses at two mines in wake of disaster – by Ana Mano and Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – February 6, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais canceled Vale SA’s license to operate a dam at one of its largest mines, the company said on Wednesday, following the collapse of another dam in the state that killed an estimated 300 people.

Vale has come under intense public pressure since the Jan. 25 dam burst, with some politicians and prosecutors calling for criminal prosecution and a management shakeup, especially since it happened less than four years after another fatal dam burst in Minas Gerais.

Vale shares on Sao Paulo’s Bovespa exchange fell 4.9 percent to a seven-day low of 42.46 on Wednesday, while its U.S. traded ADRS slumped 6.2 percent. Continue Reading →

Surging Iron Ore Prices Will Hurt China’s Economy While Benefiting Australia And Brazil – by Jim Collins (Forbes Magazine – February 6, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

As we enter the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar, the performance of iron ore has been, well, piggish of late. Coal and iron ore are the two key ingredients in the production of steel in the Bessemer process. As popular as Alibaba, Tencent’s WeChat, iQiyi and countless other Chinese apps may be, steel production is still the best determinant of the health of the Chinese economy.

Chinese government estimates place 2018 steel output at 923 million tonnes, an 11% increase over 2017’s figure. October’s output of 82.552 million tonnes reflected an all-time record for the Chinese economy.

So, all those out-of-context, sentiment-based data points that seem to be showing a slowdown in the Chinese economy–PMI data for example–really are giving a false positive for the all-important “China’s economy is slowing” narrative that so many market observers in the U.S. love to push. Continue Reading →