Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

A Vale SA logo is seen in Brumadinho, Brazil, on Jan. 29, 2019.ADRIANO MACHADO/Reuters

Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Monday it failed to obtain stability certificates for 13 dams under review following the rupture of another dam in January that killed hundreds, although its shares rose on strong global iron ore prices.

The world’s largest iron ore miner also disclosed in a securities filing on Monday that a court had frozen an additional 1 billion reais ($258.42 million) in assets over potential damages related to the evacuation of its Vargem Grande dam.

Despite the disclosures, Vale shares jumped to their highest point since the Jan. 25 disaster, rising 3.6 per cent to 52.79 reais. The shares pared gains to close 3.3 per cent higher at 52.60 reais on Monday.

Iron ore futures contracts for May delivery rose as much as 5.2 per cent on Dalian Commodity Exchange to hit a seven-week high on Monday, on strong economic data from China and supply concerns after Rio Tinto cut its 2019 forecast for iron ore shipments.

Prices have also been buoyed by production cuts at Vale, which said last week it expects to sell 75 million tonnes less than planned this year following the dam burst and heightened security concerns over its tailing ponds.

Brazil’s iron ore exports fell 25.9 per cent in March over the same month in 2018 to 22.18 million tonnes, the lowest monthly volume in six years due to the drop in Vale output.

Vale said neither the lack of certificates nor the asset freeze would affect its iron ore and pellet sales forecast announced last week.

Courts now have frozen a total of 17.6 billion reais in Vale assets since the Jan. 25 disaster when a tailings dam burst at a Vale iron ore mine in the town of Brumadinho, in southeastern Minas Gerais state, burying hundreds of people in mining waste.

In response to the disaster, Vale and the Brazilian government are reviewing the safety of all of the miner’s dams.

The miner disclosed that although 80 structures had their stability certificates renewed, another 13 dams and four dikes did not receive certifications.

Seven of them are so-called upstream tailings dams, the same type as the one that ruptured in Brumadinho. The areas around those dams have already been evacuated as a preventative safety measure.

The lack of safety certifications for the other structures will not require further evacuations, although they remain at higher states of alert under an official system that rates the risks of rupture.

Vale has said it has taken all upstream tailings dams offline as a precaution until they can be decommissioned, which could require them to reduce their output by up to 10 per cent.

Last week Vale slashed its 2019 iron ore sales forecast by up to 20 per cent to 75 million tonnes. Vale Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani told analysts that safety and not boosting production remains the company’s priority.

Report an editorial error

Report a technical issue

Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 30/05/24 3:12pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
VALE-N
Vale S.A. ADR
+0.41%12.18
RIO-N
Rio Tinto Plc ADR
+0.47%69.86

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe