Archive | Vale

Vale searches for partner to invest in world’s largest nickel mine – by Neil Hume and Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – October 17, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

Sale of stake in New Caledonian unit part of push to tackle underperforming assets

LONDON: Vale is searching for a partner to invest in one of the world’s biggest nickel mines as part of a push by its new chief executive Fabio Schvartsman to reduce debt and get to grips with underperforming assets.

The Brazilian miner is working with Scotiabank to sell a stake in Vale New Caledonia (VNC) on the remote South Pacific island of New Caledonia, according to people familiar with the process.

It has held discussions with a number of Chinese groups including Gem Co, a Shenzhen-based company that recycles and refines nickel cobalt for use in batteries, the people said. Continue Reading →

China Gobbles Amazon Rainforest Ore to Clean Its Polluted Skies – by R.T. Watson (Bloomberg News – October 11, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A bid by China to clean up pollution in its biggest cities and industrial towns is fueling a push to mine resource riches on the other side of the globe in the Amazon rainforest — one of the most environmentally sensitive areas on Earth.

Smog-laden skies across the world’s most-populated country prompted the government to impose curbs on a domestic steel industry that uses coal-fired blast furnaces to melt iron ore. That’s led to increased demand for higher-grade ore from overseas that can produce more steel with fewer emissions, and profit margins on those shipments have surged.

Exports by Brazil, one of the biggest suppliers, are headed for a fourth straight record in 2017. Top producer Vale SA is shifting production from low-grade reserves in the southeast that have been mined for a century to develop more high-grade deposits in the isolated northern regions of the Amazon, where environmentalists fear further damage to the world’s largest rainforest. Continue Reading →

Last muck, last hoist, last truck at Vale’s Birchtree Mine – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – October 5, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

The transition of Birchtree Mine to care and maintenance status, which began in the last few days of September and officially got underway Oct. 2, didn’t affect as many employees as previously estimated and no one will be laid off until the end of the year but the effects will still be felt.

The last day of mucking at Birchtree was Sept. 27 and the last hoist day was Sept. 30, when an event to commemorate the occasion was held for employees, their families and dignitaries such as Mayor Dennis Fenske, Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle, Vale Manitoba Operations vice-president Mark Scott and United Steelworkers Local 6166 president Les Ellsworth, said corporate affairs, organizational design and human resources manager Ryan Land.

The last day of September also saw the ceremonial last truck of ore roll out of the mine and the first care and maintenance shift was Oct. 2. About 60 employees will work on asset recovery until November and the mine will be on care and maintenance as of Dec. 31, after which will it will employ only six workers. Continue Reading →

[Vale and Thompson, Manitoba] The first shoe drops (Thompson Citizen – October 4, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Thompson inched into a new era Oct. 1 as Birchtree Mine stopped production of nickel ore and began the process of transitioning into care and maintenance status, a position it was previously in from 1978 until it reopened in 1989.

The move affects an estimated 150 jobs within the mine and up to 50 in processing, service and support roles, Vale Manitoba Operations said in May, when the decision to move to care and maintenance was made because it is unprofitable to continue mining at current nickel prices.

At any time, this would have been bad news for Thompson’s economy. While some affected employees may opt for early retirement and stick around and others may find new jobs locally, some will be moving out of town and taking the money that they spent on accommodations and goods and services elsewhere. That will have a trickle-down effect that even people who aren’t employed in anything mining-related will feel. Continue Reading →

Closing Time: Last hoist for Thompson’s Birchtree Mine – by John Barker (Soundings John Barker – September 30, 2017)

https://soundingsjohnbarker.wordpress.com/

On the surface, it was an unseasonably warm and brilliant orange early autumn day. Underground, it was closing time. Not last call, but rather the hard rock mining on-the-job equivalent: last hoist.

This day has almost come for Birchtree Mine in Thompson, Manitoba before. In fact, the day did come for Birchtree for most of a decade in the 1980s, as the mine was on “care and maintenance” because of unfavourable market conditions from December 1977 through 1989.

And on Oct. 18, 2012, Vale had announced care and maintenance was being considered for Birchtree Mine in 10 months time in August 2013. After finding $100 million in cost savings at its Manitoba Operations, bringing its cost per metric tonne for finished nickel to under US$10,000, Birchtree Mine would receive on May 6, 2013 a reprieve that lasted almost 4½ years. Until now. Continue Reading →

Vale eliminates its Ontario boss – by Staff (Sudbury Star – September 30, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Stuart Harshaw is out as head of Vale’s Ontario operations and the position has been eliminated. The company has blamed harsh market conditions for its decision.

“We have had a change in leadership in our Ontario operations,” Vale said in a media statement. “In the current challenging market we are evaluating all aspects of our business and that review includes examining and evolving how our business is structured. At this time, the role of director, Ontario operations has been eliminated.”

Harshaw was head of Ontario operations from January 2016. Before that, he served as VP of marketing and sales for base metals at Vale’s Singapore operations. The company said it is trying to streamline processes. Continue Reading →

Psychology of mine safety – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – September 22, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Director of mining, Ontario Operations, Vale Canada Limited delivers controversial presentation on reality of zero harm policies in mining industry

His presentation started with a disclaimer that his views may not represent those of Vale Canada Limited, even joking he may not work for them after what he had to say about zero harm policies in the mining industry.

Alistair Ross, director of mining, Ontario Operations, delivered a comprehensive presentation at the first general membership meeting of 2017 of the Canadian Institute of Mining on Sept. 21 to a packed house at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury.

It focused on the policies that are meant to eliminate injuries and deaths in mining workplaces actually end up becoming harmful policies by adding too much structure and setting impossible goals. Continue Reading →

Brazilian mining giant Vale gears up for ‘in-house’ diversification, possible acquisitions (Platts.com – September 6, 2017)

http://blogs.platts.com/

Speculation has mounted in recent weeks on possible plans by Brazilian mining company Vale’s new CEO Fabio Schvartsman to diversify and make new acquisitions. New strategic partnerships are in theory ruled out because Vale is big enough “to set its own, even more ambitious goals,” according to the new CEO.

New developments may be known on October 18, the date of Vale’s next general shareholders’ assembly, when a “diagnostic report” on the company’s activities, called for by the new CEO, may be considered by board members.

Indications are that Schvartsman — CEO of a paper and pulp concern before he took over the helm of the Brazilian mining giant in May — is concerned over Vale’s dependence on standard iron ore products, the company’s mainstay. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Kings Are Spending Again – by Rebecca Keenan and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The biggest iron ore producers in Australia are spending as much as $10 billion on mines so they can keep pumping out shipments to China as demand in their biggest customer shows little sign of easing.

Led by Rio Tinto Group, the nation’s top three exporters plan to add about 170 million metric tons of new capacity to replace exhausted mines and are studying investments in infrastructure and equipment to boost export capacity to their long-term targeted rates. Output will rise 9 percent to 843 million tons in 2022, according to Deutsche Bank AG estimates.

Forecasts of a slowdown in China’s steel industry are proving to be misplaced with BHP Billiton Ltd. saying production hasn’t yet peaked and likely won’t do so until the middle of next decade, while steel-making raw materials will continue performing well over the coming 12 months. Iron ore prices are trading near a four-month high. Continue Reading →

Indigenous workers at Voisey’s Bay anxious about Vale review of nickel operations (Canadian Press – August 23, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

MONTREAL — Global mining giant Vale’s decision to review its global operations in light of depressed nickel prices is causing anxiety among Indigenous workers at its Voisey’s Bay mine in Labrador.

As part of its 60-day audit, the Brazilian miner (NYSE:VALE) has put on hold a decision about an underground expansion project at the Atlantic mine that would create more than 400 jobs and extend its life for 15 years.

“These are some of the higher paying jobs you find in our communities,” said Darryl Shiwak, Lands and Natural Resources Minister for the Inuit people of Nunatsiavut. “So with the high unemployment rate and the amount of seasonal work, these jobs are extremely important.” Continue Reading →

Vale reviewing Voisey’s Bay – by Staff (Sudbury Star – August 21, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Another of Vale Canada’s nickel operations in Canada is under review. CBC News is reporting that Vale’s plans to extend the life of the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador by moving operations underground are on hold.

Vale said a depressed market has led to a review of all projects, including Voisey’s Bay underground. “The nickel price has been depressed for some time now with no immediate or short-term relief in sight,” wrote Vale spokesperson Cory McPhee in an email to CBC News.

“During this period we are not approving any new project contracts.” Last month, Vale said it would seek out fresh copper mining options and stop expanding nickel production capacity after its second-quarter net income plunged on forex losses, rising costs and weaker iron ore prices. Continue Reading →

USW on expected Vale layoffs: ‘They’re looking for efficiencies. Manpower is one.’ (CBC News Sudbury – August 16, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Union representative Myles Sullivan hoping members stay focused at work

Click here for interview: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1025770563541

Myles Sullivan, the area coordinator for the USW in northeastern Ontario, is cautioning members of the union to stay focused on safety while at work. Not an easy task, when many of Vale’s workers have questions after the mining giant released a company-only video that suggested impending layoffs for staff.

“It’s a very concerning video, outlining the financial situation of the company,” Sullivan said. “There’s a good future [in Sudbury,] a lot of reserves, but the mines need to produce profits.”

Sullivan said the company hasn’t made any final decisions on layoffs, but with new CEO Fabio Schvartsman at the helm of the company since May, all cards are on the table. “They didn’t say a number, but a global company like Vale they’ll invest where they have the best returns,” Sullivan said. “They’re looking at efficiencies. Of course manpower is one.” Continue Reading →

As Good as It Gets: Iron Ore Risks a Reversal as China Cools – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore in the $70s a ton may be as good as it gets for some time. After rallying hard in June and July, the commodity may see its gains unravel over the second half as steel production in China eases back from a record pace just as global miners pump up volumes.

The robust demand that’s supported gains may fade as steelmakers start to dial back output, according to Capital Economics Ltd., which came out first among forecasters in the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Others expecting a drop include Citigroup Inc., Sucden Financial Ltd., Axiom Capital Management Inc. and hedge fund Academia Capital.

“There was some fundamental support for iron ore’s rally, namely strong growth in China’s steel output,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said by email. “Stocks at China’s ports are now stubbornly high and if, as seems likely, steel production and demand eases back later in the year, then we see iron ore prices coming under renewed pressure.” Continue Reading →

Vale video describes financial status, hints at layoffs: USW – by Samantha Samson (CBC News Sudbury – August 15, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Mining giant says video is internally-used communication tool used to describe financial situation

Vale is hinting at future layoffs at their Sudbury operations, according to a United Steel Workers representative. Myles Sullivan, area coordinator for northeastern Ontario, told CBC News that he and representatives from Local 6500 and Local 2020 met with Vale to watch a video describing the company’s current situation.

Sullivan says Vale management wanted union reps to see the video before showing it to workers. “There’s a lot of pressure on the business locally,” says Sullivan. “They’re reviewing their operations, looking at where they can save and contain costs, and they’re very clear in the video that this could mean layoffs.”

Sullivan says the company’s bottom line has been affected by low nickel prices. Meanwhile, management is looking to make Sudbury operations self sustaining. “They have to make enough money not just to profit from their mines, but enough to re-invest and develop new mines and new ore bodies,” says Sullivan. Continue Reading →

[Sudbury Vale] Layoff talk premature, Bertrand says – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – August 15, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale may have to make some hard decisions in coming months regarding its operations in Sudbury, but the head of a local union says it’s premature to talk about job losses.

“In this case right now, there’s no numbers,” said Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand. “We’ve asked them straight out, is there going to be any layoffs of any kind, because there’s so many people talking about different numbers. What we got from the company is that there is not a number, they don’t have a number.”

Bertrand also said there has been no membership meeting to discuss layoffs, as The Star earlier reported, citing a source. “That’s totally not true,” he said. Concerns grew among workers over the past week after they were shown a Vale video suggesting tough times lie ahead. Continue Reading →