Vale said on Saturday it "deeply regrets" the death of contracted company Vale Verde's employee.
Vale said the man was carrying out maintenance activities on an excavator when he was hit by a landslide from a pit embankment.
It said both companies would provide support to the employee's family members and both were supporting the authorities in assessing the case and investigating the causes of the accident.
"On-site maintenance activities will be suspended for further studies and assessments of safety conditions," Vale said.
"The company reiterates its commitment to the safety of all its employees and the communities."
Vale is "de-characterising" its upstream tailings dams and structures.
The company is separately expecting within weeks to restart its Samarco iron ore joint venture with BHP, also in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, which was stopped five years ago after the fatal Fundao tailings dam failure that killed 19 people and caused widespread environmental damage.