Archive | Vale

Iron ore shortage after Vale disaster hurting Brazil steelmakers: report (Reuters U.S. – April 15, 2019)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A decision by Brazilian mining company Vale SA to halt production at ten sites in Minas Gerais state following a deadly dam disaster has affected deliveries of iron ore pellets to clients, newspaper Valor Econômico reported on Monday, citing industry sources.

Vale is trying to resolve the problem by bringing iron ore pellets produced in the northeastern state of Maranhão to clients in the southeast. The longer distances involved are adding to transportation costs, Valor said.

Vale did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Valor report. Continue Reading →

Ethical investors ask miners to publish tailings dam details (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Ethical investors working on a global standard for tailings dams have written to 683 listed resource companies, including major miners, asking for information to be made public within 45 days about every facility they control.

The safety of dams used to store mining waste, known as tailings, has gain prominence after the collapse of a Vale tailings dam in Brazil in January killed an estimated 300 people.

The International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM) industry group said in March it was working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) to develop new standards. Continue Reading →

Church of England scheme gives ultimatum to mining companies – by Stephanie Hawthorne (Pensions Expert – April 5, 2019)

On the go: In the wake of the collapse of the tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, which killed at least 84 people and left hundreds missing, 96 institutional investors have been stirred into action.

In an urgent letter, investors, led by the Church of England Pensions Board, have given mining companies 45 days to provide full disclosure on tailings storage facilities under their control. It requests that companies publish the disclosure on their websites within 45 days and ensure that the disclosure is signed by the company’s chief executive or board chair.

The letter, sent on April 5 to 683 listed extractives companies by the CofE Pensions Board and the Swedish Council on Ethics for the AP Funds, is supported by 96 investors with $10.3tn (£7.9tn) in assets under management, including Aegon, Aviva and Hermes. The engagement is also supported by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Iron ore prices shift structurally higher on Vale woes – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – April 2, 2019)

HONG KONG, April 2 (Reuters) – Iron ore prices in China reached a record high on Tuesday as market participants wrestled two dilemmas, namely the likely temporary weather-related disruptions from Australia and the rather more serious safety outages in Brazil.

A major tropical cyclone hitting the main producing and shipping areas in the world’s largest iron ore miner was always likely to boost prices, and indeed, markets largely responded as expected.

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 4.2 percent on Tuesday to reach 665.5 yuan ($99) a tonne, the most since the contract starting trading in 2013. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore Thunders Higher as Mine Dams Closed, Exports Collapse – by Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – April 3, 2019)

Iron ore’s supply-driven rally picked up pace on Wednesday, with futures topping $90 a ton, amid increasing concern the crisis at Brazil’s Vale SA will be drawn out as regulators ordered dozens of dams to be shut.

Futures for benchmark material rallied as much as 4.1 percent in Singapore, while spot ore climbed to a two-year high and the contract for high-grade ore extended gains above $100 a ton. Barclays Plc raised price forecasts on expectations for a global deficit.

The seaborne market has been roiled this year after top producer Vale suffered a dam breach in January, spurring mine suspensions and concerns there’ll be a shortage. Continue Reading →

Vale shares jump on iron prices despite losing certifications, asset freeze (Reuters U.S. – April 1, 2019)

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Monday it failed to obtain stability certificates for 13 dams under review following the rupture of another dam in January that killed hundreds, although its shares rose on strong global iron ore prices.

The world’s largest iron ore miner also disclosed in a securities filing on Monday that a court had frozen an additional 1 billion reais ($258.42 million) in assets over potential damages related to the evacuation of its Vargem Grande dam.

Despite the disclosures, Vale shares jumped to their highest point since the Jan. 25 disaster, rising 3.6 percent to 52.79 reais. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale slashes iron ore sales estimate after dam burst – by Marta Nogueira and Roberto Samora (Reuters U.S. – March 28, 2019)

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA on Thursday estimated selling up to 75 million tonnes less iron ore this year, after several mines were halted following its second deadly dam burst in less than four years.

The estimate, which is 20 percent below its prior forecast, is the latest blow to Vale from the collapse at Brumadinho, which killed some 300 people and forced the world’s largest iron ore exporter to fire its chief executive officer earlier this month.

Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani said in a call with analysts that under the most optimistic scenario, 2019 sales would decline about 50 million tonnes. Continue Reading →

Mining group works with U.N., ethical investors to tackle tailings (Reuters U.S. – March 27, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – A group bringing together the world’s biggest listed miners on Wednesday said it was working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and ethical investors to help agree a global standard for tailings dams.

The safety of dams used to store mining waste known as tailings became more high profile after the collapse of a Vale tailings dam in Brazil in January killed an estimated 300 people.

Vale and other major miners, including Rio Tinto, BHP and Glencore, are members of the industry body International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which met in London on Wednesday to debate tailings safety. Continue Reading →

Vale’s Sul Superior Dam in critical condition – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – March 23, 2019)

Brazilian mining giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) announced this weekend that the Sul Superior Dam at the Gongo Soco mine is in a critical condition when it comes to stability. This, following the work of an independent auditor, hired to evaluate the state of the structure.

The dam is located in the municipality of Barão de Cocais, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. This is the same region where, back in January 2019, a dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine collapsed killing hundreds and causing massive environmental destruction.

With the idea of avoiding a similar tragedy, the company launched a protocol to initiate level 3 of the Mining Dams Emergency Action Plan for Sul Superior, which is inactive and is scheduled to be decommissioned together with other nine dams. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Tug-of-war: China’s steel sector grapples short-term bulls, longer-term bears – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 21, 2019)

PERTH, March 21 (Reuters) – China’s steel sector, and the imported iron ore upon which it relies, are currently locked in a struggle between largely bearish longer-term structural factors and short-term cyclical influences, some of which are bullish.

It’s not unusual for an industry to grapple with competing narratives, but for China, which produces half the world’s steel and consumes two-thirds of seaborne iron ore, how the issues are resolved will have a flow-on effect through other parts of the economy, such as manufacturing, mining and construction.

The other impact of the tug-of-war of factors is likely to be volatility in prices as market participants try to reconcile the short-term drivers with the longer-term trends. Continue Reading →

Miner Vale quashed dam safety audit efforts before Brazil disaster: prosecutor (Reuters U.S. – March 20, 2019)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Executives at Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, quashed efforts by Brazilian authorities to audit one of the company’s mining dams months before it collapsed and killed over 300 people, a state prosecutor was quoted as saying by news website G1 on Wednesday.

William Garcia, a prosecutor in Minas Gerais where the January disaster occurred, told G1 his office had filed subpoenas with Vale last June to review safety documents regarding Vale’s dam.

But Vale’s lawyers responded in November arguing they had received positive reviews of the dam by an auditor the firm had hired, the German firm Tuv Sud, Garcia said. Continue Reading →

Brazil Court Orders Vale to Stop Operations at Another Mine – by Walter Brandimarte (Bloomberg News – March 17, 2019)

A Brazilian court ordered Vale SA to halt production at another of its iron ore mines, further reducing the company’s output capacity after a deadly dam burst increased government scrutiny over its operations.

The Timbopeba mine in Minas Gerais state produces 12.8 million tons of iron ore per year, Vale said in a statement, adding that it will comply with the court decision. The judge also ordered the company to stop using the Doutor dam that receives tailings from the mine. A fine of 500,000 reais ($131,000) per day will be imposed in case of disobedience.

Since the Brumadinho dam accident that left more than 300 people dead or missing on Jan. 25, Vale has also been ordered to stop operations at its Brucutu mine in the same state. Continue Reading →

More women in mining ‘matters,’ Sudbury engineer says – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – March 9, 2019)

Samantha Espley will never forget her first day when she joined Falconbridge Limited not long after obtaining an engineering degree from the University of Toronto in 1988. “It was a sea of men,” she recalled, during her breakfast address Friday at the Steelworkers Hall on Brady Street to celebrate International Women’s Day. “I was so shocked. Over the years, I felt self-righteous. ‘How come there’s not enough women?’

“But over my 30 years, I realized there’s no women in the pipeline. There’s no females to draw from. There’s no women for the big companies to hire coming out of the schools and trade schools.”

Espley is the current director of Mining Technology & Innovation for Vale Base Metals, leading a team of highly specialized engineers and scientists providing technical support to Vale’s operating mines and projects in Canada, Brazil, New Caledonia and Indonesia. Continue Reading →

Brazil minister calls Vale ‘important’ even as prosecutors probe miner – by Nichola Saminather (Reuters U.S. – March 5, 2019)

TORONTO (Reuters) – Brazil’s mining minister on Tuesday defended iron ore miner Vale SA as vital to the country’s economy, even after prosecutors accused the company of pressuring auditors to suppress evidence that its Brumadinho dam was unstable, months before the dam collapsed in January, killing hundreds.

Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque said Vale executives are likely to learn from the disaster, which killed more than 300 and sparked an outcry for tighter mining regulations.

The January disaster was the second deadly burst in less than four years in Brazil at a Vale-controlled tailings dam, a type of dam that stores the muddy detritus of the mining process. Continue Reading →

Alternative technology and tailings dam disasters – by Jax Jacobsen (The Ecologist – March 2019)

Jax Jacobsen is a mining and energy journalist, and a regular contributor to Mining Magazine. She has also written for Canadian Institute of Mining Magazine, Natural Resources Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and other publications. In 2013-2016, she was S&P Global’s Canadian mining correspondent.

Brazil witnessed its worst ever mining disaster earlier this year, after Vale’s tailing dam in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais collapsed without warning.

Estimates tag the number of deaths at 142, while nearly 200 remain missing. Hundreds were evacuated this week near the dam area of another mine in Minas Gerais as a precaution.

This tailings dam collapse comes less than four years after another devastating tailings mine disaster destroyed the town of Samarco, also in Brazil, also managed by Vale (though in a joint partnership with BHP). The Samarco tailings dam failure killed 19, and caused widespread environmental destruction through the state of Minas Gerais. Continue Reading →