Vale slashes 2020 output forecasts, citing virus

Valemax-ore-carrier

Brazilian miner Vale cut its forecast for production of iron ore fines and pellets, copper and nickel in 2020, saying in a securities filing that the new coronavirus outbreak was delaying some facilities from reopening.

Vale reduced its forecast for annual production of iron ore fines to 310 million to 330 million tonnes from 340 million to 355 million tonnes previously. The company decreased its forecast for pellet production to 35 million to 40 million tonnes from 44 million tonnes.

Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, attributed the revised forecast in part to delays restarting operations at facilities including the Timbopeba and Fabrica mines because the coronavirus outbreak was tripping up inspections and authorizations.

Operations at both mines were halted due to safety concerns after Vale’s fatal dam burst in Brumadinho in January 2019, which killed over 270 people.

The miner said it had also slashed its 2020 production forecasts for copper to 360,000-380,000 tonnes from 400,000 tonnes previously and for nickel to 180,000-195,000 tonnes from 200,000-210,000 previously. The forecast excludes production at its New Caledonia facility.

In the first quarter, Vale reported its iron ore output fell 18.2% from a year-ago to 59.6 million tonnes, missing its prediction of 63-58 million tonnes. First-quarter iron ore sales totaled 51.7 million tonnes, a 6.8% drop from the same period a year ago.

[reuters]

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