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Vale to resume Brucutu mine operations within next 72 hours

Sao Paulo β€” Brazilian mining giant Vale expects to resume its Brucutu mine operations in the next 72 hours after receiving authorization from a Brazilian court on Tuesday.

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"Vale informs on the decision of the Minas Gerais Court of Justice president to partially suspend the injunction of the Court of Santa Barbara, made on March 22nd, 2019," it said late Tuesday.

The Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo municipality has filed an initial appeal requesting the suspension of the injunction, with Judge Nelson Missias de Morais saying the situation would bring daily financial losses of nearly Real 230,000 ($59,000) to the municipality.

"However, heavy rains in Sao Luis do Maranhao in March and April affected shipments of the Ponta da Madeira port, the railway transportation at EFC, thus impacting the production volumes at the Northern System," Vale said.

As a result of both events, Vale reaffirmed its estimate of iron ore sales volume for 2019 would be between 307 million mt and 332 million mt.

"The current sales volume expectation should stay around the middle of the range," it said.

The permission to operate the dam and 30 million mt/year capacity mine had been given to Vale in February by the Minas Gerais State Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development (Semad).

However, civil action filed by local public prosecutor's office prohibited the use of the dam, which resulted in the shutdown of all operations at the mine since February 22, following the fatal collapse of a dam at Vale's Corrego do Feijao iron ore mine on January 25.

The production halt at Brucutu, which produces pellet feed, led Vale to declare force majeure on some sales contracts and is considered a key factor in a recent surge in iron ore prices.

-- Guilherme Baida, guilherme.baida@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com

S&P Global Platts Insight | April 2019 | Shape Shifting: US power markets

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