Brazilian mining firm Vale has reported operating revenues of $11.3bn in the first quarter of 2012, 16.3% lower than figures reported in the same period last year.

The company said that abnormal rainfall in Brazil has led to narrower operating margins and lower than expected earnings and cash flow, combined with the reduction in iron ore and pellet prices.

Vale posted a 0.9% rise in pellet shipments for a first quarter at 10.4t, while coal shipments stood at 2.8t.

Income from existing operations, as measured by adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, stood at $3.9bn while operating income stood at $6bn in the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2011.

Net earnings stood at $3.8bn this quarter representing an 18.1% drop against the $4.7bn in 4Q11, while cash generation amounted to $5bn against the $7.4bn in 4Q11.

Vale said production is ramping up at its diversified portfolio of assets while tests with the integrated operation of VNC led to production of nickel oxide on a sustainable basis.

The company said its Salobo greenfield copper project in Brazil, with a nominal capacity of 100,000t of copper in concentrates, is coming on stream soon.

It has also signed a leasing contract to continue potash mining at Taquari-Vassouras and the development of the Carnalita project, which is estimated to have a nominal capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of potash.