Vale can reopen Itabira after coronavirus measures

Itabira, Minas Gerais, Vale’s first mine. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA has received permission to reopen mines in the Itabira complex shuttered due to coronavirus concerns, the company said in a Wednesday filing, adding there was no change to its production guidance.

Vale said it had received permission to reopen the mines from Minas Gerais state labor inspectors. They concluded that the measures Vale had taken to mitigate the threat from the virus and protect its workforce were sufficient to restart works, the company said.

Nonetheless, Vale said work would kick off gradually.

The Itabira complex produced almost 36 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019, according to Vale, of a total production of roughly 302 million tonnes.

A court had previously ordered the Itabira complex shut in late May, but that decision was immediately overturned.

Then, in early June, a judge ordered the closure after 188 workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

(By Christian Plumb; Editing by Brad Haynes and Tom Brown)

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