June 7, 2020 / 4:36 PM / a month ago

Brazil's Vale reaffirms iron ore output forecast after court decision

SAO PAULO, June 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale has reaffirmed its iron ore output guidance after a court reinstated an order to suspend activities at the company’s Itabira mining complex in Minas Gerais state, according to a securities filing late on Saturday.

Vale said it is keeping its monthly production forecast at Itabira at 2.7 million tonnes “for the next months.” Overall potential output losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 were kept at up to 15 million tonnes.

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

Prosecutors had alleged that workers were at risk at Itabira after 188 of them tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Vale said the order that reinstated suspension of activities at Itabira will remain in effect until a binding ruling on the matter is issued or until measures required by labor auditors are in place to control the coronavirus outbreak at that site.

Closing of the three mines operated by Vale at Itabira put more than 10% of its iron ore output offline. In spite of reiterating production forecasts, the temporary closing of Itabira could result in a shortage of pellet feeds destined for the domestic market, Vale said.

The ruling that reinstated the ban on Itabira’s activities also set a daily fine of 500,000 reais ($101,000) if there was a violation of the decision, Vale said.

$1 = 4.9585 reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Paul Simao

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