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Brazilian Judge Shuts Down Vale

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    Brazilian judge shuts down Vale complex due to coronavirus concerns.

    Reuters. June 6, 2020 / 8:24 AM

    SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge ordered the closure of a series of mines operated by mining company Vale SA over coronavirus concerns, labor prosecutors said on Friday, a development that puts more than 10% of the firm’s iron ore output offline and will likely send jitters through the global iron ore market.

    Prosecutors had alleged that workers were at risk at the mine complex, known as Itabira in the state of Minas Gerais, after 188 of them tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Vale did not comment on the decision, but in a statement it defended its efforts to limit the virus’ spread through extensive testing and other measures. A court had previously ordered the Itabira complex shut in late May, but that decision was immediately overturned. Advertisement“The company has been increasing its support to some municipalities through testing, as in the case of Itabira, which will gain a drive-thru testing system shortly, which will be financed by Vale,” the company said.

    The Itabira complex produced almost 36 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019, according to Vale, while the company as a whole produced roughly 302 million.

    Iron ore futures prices have been heavily affected in recent weeks by fears of the coronavirus’ increasing spread into Brazil’s interior areas where the metal is generally mined.
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