Brazilian mining giant Vale has reported an 18% decline in net profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 to $3.11bn, compared to profit of $3.79bn in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

The company attributed the fall in the quarter’s profits to decreased sales, high tax payments and weak currency gains.

Net operating revenues for Q1 2013 were $10.94bn, down 5.34%, from $11.55bn in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, primarily due to seasonally lower shipments driven mainly by iron ore, pellets and fertilizers.

Vale, which is primarily involved in iron ore mining, said that the output of iron ore dropped in the first quarter by 3.5% to 67.54 million tonnes, compared to a year earlier period amid operational and permitting concerns.

Production at the company’s Itabira complex in Minas Gerais state of Brazil fell 17% during the quarter due to low-quality raw material, while its Mariana mining system’s outlet was limited by various permitting issues, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the fall in iron ore production, Vale reiterated its estimated production target of 306 million tonnes of iron ore in 2013.

However, the company’s production of other important products such as copper, coal and nickel increased by 23%, 17% and 3%, respectively in the quarter.

During the first three-month period of fiscal 2013, Brazilian mining giant Vale has obtained final environmental clearance for its CLN 150 programme, which involves building a port in north-eastern Brazil, a move which will boost logistics support for the company’s Carajás iron ore mine.

Image: During the quarter, Vale received final environmental approval for Brazilian port to support logistics of Carajás iron ore mine. Photo: File image.

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