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Brazilian court orders Vale to close Dique III dam at Vargem Grande complex

A Brazilian court ordered Vale SA to close its Dique III dam, part of the Vargem Grande iron ore complex in Minas Gerais state, Reuters reported March 22, citing a document from a court in the city of Nova Lima.

In a statement, the miner said it was not formally notified of the decision and will take appropriate measures on the latest order in due course. Further, the dam's closure will not have an additional impact on production, as Vargem Grande was previously ordered closed by Brazil's National Mining Agency in February.

This is the latest in a series of legal and regulatory actions enacted against Vale in the wake of the fatal tailings dam breach at its Feijao mine, also in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, in January.

Earlier this week, Vale suspended the Alegria mine operation, part of the Mariana iron ore complex in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, as part of preventive measures. Further, a Brazilian court ordered the suspension of the Minervino and Cordao Nova Vista dams until the mining major proves the stability of the structures.

Meanwhile, Vale said the State Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development issued a provisional operational authorization allowing for the resumption of operations at its Brucutu iron ore mine in the next 72 hours.