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Vale informs of interdiction of Itabira Complex

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Global Mining Review,

Vale has announced that, on 5 June 2020, the company adopted the necessary measures to suspend the activities of the Itabira mining complex, by comprising the conception, Cauê and Parakeet mines, in compliance with a decision issued by the Regional Labour Court of the 3rd region, which reinstated the effects of the Interdiction Team issued by the Sub-Secretariat for Labour Inspection, in Minas Gerias.

The ruling will remain in effect until judgment on the merits of the action or until the implementation of control measures to protect from COVID-19 as defined by the labour inspectors, under penalty of a daily fine in the amount of R$500 000, fixed in a decision issued on 6 June 2020 by the same court. Vale has informed that the shutdown of the activities at these mines follows all technical criteria and safety protocols, to protect the health of workers.

The company has also informed that it is aware of its socioeconomic responsibility and, since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been looking for ways to contribute to the Brazilian society in the fight against the virus, protecting its employees and the communities close to its operations.

The company will present the appropriate legal measures against the aforementioned court decision, certain that it is already complying with the determinations of the labour inspectors, as well as that it is taking all the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of its employees, and aware of its role as an essential activity in the Brazilian economy.

Mass testing

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vale has been carrying out a series of actions aimed at preventing and mitigating the effects caused by COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) protocol, strictly followed by Vale, is to test, remove, track and treat positive or suspicious cases. By following the WHO protocol and taking the correct measures, the company contributes to the control of COVID-19 in the cities where it operates.

Following this philosophy and in line with the WHO recommendations, the company has been promoting mass testing of its employees in Brazil, thus allowing the mapping of people who have had contact with the virus and are asymptomatic. Until 5 June, over 75% of the company's workforce (own and third parties) in the country were tested. In Itabira, almost the entire workforce at site was tested.

Mass testing offers greater transparency of the number of Vale employees who had contact with the virus, which contrasts with the lower incidence in the surrounding communities, where there is no large-scale testing. Thus, the company will remain with the firm purpose of supporting the municipalities where it operates in the testing process, as is the case in Itabira, while keeping other measures such as the donation of 5 million tests to the Brazilian Government.

Other preventive measures

In addition to mass testing, Vale has adopted several other measures aimed at ensuring the safety of its employees and collaborators, including:

  • Adoption of the ‘home office’ system.
  • Work-at-home for workers over 60 years old or with risk factors, regardless of their functions.
  • Reduction of personnel in operations and scheduling of shifts.
  • The mandatory use of masks in the units.
  • Daily screening on the arrival of workers, with body temperature measurement and health questionnaire for 100% of the workforce.
  • Measures of social distancing and control, such as increasing the bus fleet to reduce occupancy and reducing the number of employees in restaurants.
  • Constant cleaning of the facilities.

Production guidance

The iron ore fines production guidance of 310 - 330 million t in 2020 considers a negative impact of 15 million t from eventual impacts resulting from the fight against COVID-19. Considering the expected monthly production of 2.7 million t from the Itabira Complex for the coming months and the provisioning of up to 15 million t of losses associated with COVID-19 in 2020, there is no need, at this moment, to review the guidance. However, there may be a temporary shortage of pellets for the domestic market, while the Itabira Complex shutdown remains, given that the complex provides pellet feed for the pelletisers of the Tubarão Complex.

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Vale mining news Iron ore mining news