Japan’s JFE says no impact on iron ore buying after Vale dam disaster

Image courtesy of JFE Steel

* JFE cuts FY profit forecast by 12 pct due to system glitches

* JFE trims FY crude steel output f’cast to 27 mln T from 28 mln T

JFE Holdings, Japan’s second-biggest steelmaker, has seen no direct impact on its procurement of iron ore in the wake of miner Vale’s catastrophic tailings dam collapse in Brazil, an executive said on Friday.

“We buy about 20 percent of iron ore from Vale, but we have had no direct impact on our procurement of iron ore,” JFE Executive Vice President Shinichi Okada said, speaking at an earnings news conference.

“But we need to closely watch how the disaster would affect Vale’s overall output and how it will impact on iron ore markets going forward,” Okada said.

With 110 people confirmed dead and another 238 missing, according to firefighters’ count on Thursday evening, the tailings dam collapse in the town of Brumadinho may be Brazil’s deadliest-ever mine disaster.

Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner, on Tuesday vowed to take as much as 10 percent of its ore output offline in order to decommission 10 more dams like the one that burst last week.

For the year to March 31, JFE reduced its recurring profit forecast by 12 percent to 220 billion yen ($2.02 billion), blaming a series of glitches at its local mills.

Its crude steel output on a parent basis is now expected at 27 million tonnes, down from its earlier estimate of 28 million tonnes and its output a year earlier of 28.46 million tonnes, JFE said.

The company said earlier Koji Kakigi, president of JFE Steel, will become the new president of JFE Holdings from April 1.
($1 = 108.9200 yen)

(By Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Christian Schmollinger)

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