Vale set to resume operations at Brucutu iron ore mine in Brazil

20 June 2019 (Last Updated July 26th, 2019 10:16)

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale is set to resume complete operations at Brucutu mine in Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo, Minas Gerais, after the Supreme Court reversed a previous ruling that stopped processing due to concerns of safety at a nearby dam.

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale is set to resume complete operations at Brucutu mine in Sao Goncalo do Rio Abaixo, Minas Gerais, after the Supreme Court reversed a previous ruling that stopped processing due to concerns of safety at a nearby dam.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the company planned to resume operations within 72 hours, reported Reuters.

Operations at the Brucutu mine was closed in February after the request of prosecutors in Minas Gerais state following a tailings dam burst in late January in Brumadinho.

The dam burst accident killed more than 240 people.

Following the accident, the mine has been producing iron ore at an annual rate of 10Mt, which is just one-third of its total production capacity. It has been using ‘dry processing’ to avoid generation of muddy waste byproduct when compared with conventional mining methods, reported Reuters.

In a corporate filing, Vale also reaffirmed its iron ore and pellets sales guidance to be in the range of 307Mtpa to 332Mtpa.

It stated that sales were expected to be around the midpoint of that target range, up from its earlier forecast low end of the range.

The miner stated: “The (Supreme court) decision will enable the full resumption of wet processing operations at Brucutu within 72 hours, thus increasing the average quality of Vale’s product portfolio.”

Brucutu has an annual production capacity of 30Mtpa of iron ore, representing 8% of Vale’s annual output. It employs more than 1,700 people.

The company’s operations have been under scrutiny since the tailings dam disaster. In 2015, a dam failure at Samarco, Vale’s joint venture project with BHP, killed at least 19 people. The Samarco accident was referred to as Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.