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Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues

Vale (BZ: VALE3) has cut its full-year iron ore production guidance after a miss in the first quarter, delays in restarting some operations and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues Vale cuts production outlook as pandemic continues

Vale’s Carajás iron ore operations in northern Brazil

Staff reporter

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It also lowered its nickel and copper guidance and said due to uncertainties arising from the pandemic, "Vale is withdrawing and cannot, at this moment, provide a new coal production guidance for 2020".

The company said March quarter iron ore fines production was 59.6 million tonnes, below the already revised forecast 63-68Mt, due to unscheduled maintenance on the long-distance conveyor belt at S11D, poor weather and operational issues.

Pellet production was down 43.1% to 6.9Mt, mainly due the voluntary stoppage of the Tubarão 1 and 2 plants, the rainy season and the partial stoppage at Brucutu, where the company is looking into tailings disposal alternatives as its Norte/Laranjeiras dam remains suspended amid increased scrutiny following Vale's fatal Brumadinho tailings dam failure in 2019. 

Vale reduced 2020 fines production guidance from 340-355Mt to 310-330Mt, and pellet production from 44Mt to 35-40Mt.

The company said its plan to close its Vale New Caledonia (VNC) refinery was advancing and, along with the extended idling of Voisey's Bay in Canada, was among the reasons for the base metals production downgrade. 

It cut its nickel guidance, ex-VNC, from 200,000-210,000t to 180,000-195,000t.

Copper was reduced from 400,000t to 360,000-380,000t.

"The company is continuously evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business and will disclose promptly any further material impact on its operations, supply chain or customer demand," it said.

Vale closed up 2.9% on Friday to BRL44, capitalising it at BRL232.5 billion (US$44.4 billion).

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