London — Brazil's Vale has overturned a court order requiring it to close its Itabira iron ore mines for coronavirus testing of employees, the company said late Friday.
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The company said all its activities continue at the mine complex, in its southeastern Brazil system. The Itabira complex produced 35.9 million mt of iron ore in 2019.
Vale said it won an injunction from an Itabira court to maintain production in Itabira, quashing an order to close the site which had been issued by the Regional Labor Superintendent.
A spokeswoman from the Minas Gerais public labor ministry told Platts that the ministry filed a court injunction on May 23 for the temporary closure of the Itabira sites while Vale completed the testing of all its employees there. This action was taken due to the high number of cases of COVID-19 in the region, according to a ministry statement.
As the ministry's request has now been overturned, a conciliatory hearing between the parties has been set for June 18, the ministry spokeswoman said.
Vale said in response to emailed questions from S&P Global Platts that it is both adapting its operations and supporting communities as it faces challenges from COVID-19. It is working with a minimum number of employees at its sites, testing employees for coronavirus and employing a wide number of precautions to avoid contamination at the sites.
The company is not divulging the results of coronavirus tests carried out, to protect its employees' privacy, it said.
Iron ore 62% Fe fines prices delivered to China hit their highest point for 10 months Friday following indications that the Itabira site might be shut.