Vale partially halts work at second-largest iron ore mine

Brucutu is the second largest mine in Brazil, behind Vale’s Carajás. (Image by Ricardo Teles | Vale.)

Brazil’s mining authority has ordered Vale (NYSE:VALE) to halt operations at part of its Brucutu iron ore mine, the largest in Minas Gerais state and the company’s second biggest, behind Carajás.

The National Mining Agency (ANM) said its decision was based on its understanding that the Rio de Janeiro-based iron ore producer had exceeded the mineral reserve limit approved for the exploration area in question.

Brucutu, which has an annual capacity of 30 million tonnes of iron ore, is also Minas Gerais state’s largest mine.

“Vale understands that all the agency’s requirements to operate the mining front were fulfilled and reported in the economic utilization plan submitted to the agency in 2017, and will take appropriate measures in this case,” it said in the statement.

The company, the world’s No. 1 iron ore producer, said the suspension will not impact the production at the mine, which is part of the firm’s Minas Centrais complex.

The miner also reaffirmed its projected sales of iron ore and pellets of 307 million to 332 million tonnes for 2019.

Brucutu, which has an annual capacity of 30 million tonnes of iron ore, has been in operation for 13 years.

Vale was forced to halt operations at the mine in February, following a court’s decision banning Vale from storing tailings in the Laranjeiras dam at Brucutu.

The verdict followed January’s tailings dam disaster at Brumadinho, which left nearly 300 people dead.

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