RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian miner Vale said in a filing on Monday it is temporarily suspending operations at its Viga concentration plant in Minas Gerais state, which will result in 11 000 t/d fewer of iron-ore fine production.
Iron ore fines are high-quality fine ore powders.
This follows a court ruling which Vale said it will appeal. The world's second largest producer of the key steelmaking ingredient has been under scrutiny from authorities after two deadly dam breaks in 2015 and 2019, and is the subject of several ongoing legal cases that often affect production.
On Monday, Vale said that last week it suspended tailings disposal and works at the B7 dam at Jeceaba, in Minas Gerais state. The company also said it suspended Viga waste disposal plant in Congonhas, in Minas Gerais state.
Both suspensions affect output, since mining sludge from iron ore mining needs to be properly disposed. They came after a court ruling on a public civil action suit filed by the municipality of Jeceaba, the company said.
This is the second time Vale has suspended operations at the waste disposal plant, with impact to production, since acquiring it in August last year.
Vale bought miner Ferrous Resources Limited for $550-million in 2019, including units for mining tailings disposal, after shutting down some of its dams in Minas Gerais state for security risk.
Vale said in the Monday filing the Viga operational unit fulfills the necessary requirements for the issuance of the B7 dam operating permit, and will try to revert the decision in court.
Two weeks after the acquisition in 2019, Vale said it had identified an inconsistency in the documents related to the operation permit from the municipality of Jeceaba. Operations were suspended for about three months, with a similar impact to production - approximately 330 000 t/m - the company said then.