Iron ore exports from Brazil hit highest level since 2015

Vale’s Ponta da Madeira iron ore terminal in Brazil. (Image courtesy of Vale SA.)

Brazilian iron ore exports increased 18.5% in September compared to the same period last year, to 37.86 million tonnes, after Vale increased the pace of production.

The volume shipped last month is the biggest since December 2015, when Brazil exported a monthly record of 39.5 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services.

Compared with August, there was a 21% increase in Brazilian iron ore shipments in September.

Vale resumed full operations at its Viga plant on Thursday, after a judge lifted an order that had suspended operations there, the mining firm said in a securities filing.

Operations at the iron ore concentration plant had been suspended for six days, the company said, as it rectified alleged issues pertaining to its operating permit.

According to the miner, the halt resulted in 11,000 tonnes per day of iron ore fine production off the market.

Brazil’s iron ore exports – which represent 59% of the country’s mineral production – totaled $5 billion in Q2, 6% higher than Q1 2020, but 5% lower than in Q2 2019. The country exported 76 million tonnes, 8% above the total registered in Q1 2020, but 3% lower than Q2 2019.

Industry group IBRAM projects that the country will export 310 million tonnes in 2020, lower than the 340 million tonnes exported in 2019.