Vale Output Expected to Tease Record Despite Dam Disaster – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – July 20, 2016)

Vale SA’s relentless expansion is expected to keep the world’s biggest iron-ore miner near record output levels despite the hobbling effects of last year’s Samarco dam burst on its Brazilian operations.

The Rio de Janeiro-based miner will report second-quarter output of 86 million metric tons, including third-party purchases, according to the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That compares with a second-quarter record of 89.3 million a year earlier, and 77.5 million in the first quarter, when Vale’s production is typically lower.

The numbers don’t include production from Vale’s Samarco Mineracao SA joint venture. That mine in southeastern Brazil, co-owned by Melbourne-based BHP Billiton Ltd., was shut in November after a tailings dam burst, killing as many as 19 people, polluting nearby waterways and confronting the companies with potentially billions of dollars in damages.

Vale has warned that the overall performance of its Mariana mining hub in southeastern Brazil was suffering as a result of the accident that’s been widely called the country’s worst environmental disaster.

The miner said in its first-quarter production report that the Samarco closure had reduced output in the rest of the regional hub by 48 percent compared with a year earlier.

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