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Vale flags hit to FY'19 sales after new tailings dam suspension

Vale SA expects 2019 iron ore and pellet sales to be between the lower end and the midpoint of its guidance of 307 million tonnes to 332 Mt, it said Oct. 21.

This comes after the company decided to shut down the Itabiruçu tailings dam, part of the Itabira iron ore complex in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, after its own assessment, supported by third-party inspection bodies, called for more complementary studies on the dam's geotechnical characteristics, which will be conducted within 30 days. The shutdown will not require the people living downstream of the dam to evacuate, the company added.

The impact of the shutdown will be about 1.2 Mt in 2019. The 2020 production plan already accounted for not using the dam for most of the year.

Vale added that its plan to restart about 50 Mt of lost capacity by 2021 remains unchanged, as mentioned earlier this month.

Brazilian police were recently reported to have accused top Vale executives of ignoring dam risks at the company's Feijao iron ore mine to avoid liability.

The company added that the Itabiruçu dam was issued a statement of condition of stability Sept. 30, which remains valid.