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Vale updates on operations and structures in Minas Gerais

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Global Mining Review,

Vale, as an update to the press release ‘Vale informs about the impact of rainfall in Minas Gerais’, released on 10 January 2022, has informed that it has partially and gradually resumed its operations in Minas Gerais after the re-establishment of adequate safety conditions following the period of heavy rains that affected the region.

In the southeastern system, the trains transit on the Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas railway has been resumed on the Rio Piracicaba – João Monlevade stretch, thus allowing the gradual expedition of Brucutu and Mariana complex's production. Therefore, there is no longer production sites halted in the system due to the rains. The BH branch line, which is responsible for general cargo transportation, is halted, and logistic alternatives are being evaluated for the definitive resumption of the branch line and for the expedition of general cargo while the branch line remains halted.

In the southern system, some road accesses were cleared, and other alternative accesses were implemented, allowing the circulation of employees/third parties to the system’s mines, thus enabling the adequacy works of the mining fronts infrastructure. Several stretches of the MRS Logística had their train transit cleared and other stretches are expected to be cleared throughout the week. Accordingly, the Abóboras, Vargem Grande, Fábrica and Viga plants, representing abouthalf of the current capacity of the southern system, were gradually resumed over the last days. The other plants should be resumed in the coming days, after additional works to re-establish the appropriate operating conditions and normalisation of train transit has been done.

Due to the stoppages in Minas Gerais, the company estimates an impact of approximately 1.5 million t on iron ore production and third-party purchase. Vale considers the seasonal impact of the rainy season in all operations, and therefore reiterates its iron ore production guidance of 320 – 335 million t for 2022.

Dams safety

Vale remains with the continuous management and monitoring of its dams and geotechnical structures, carried out by the Geotechnical Monitoring Centers, by Vale's specialised teams and by the Engineers of Record. Based on a proactive posture, the company reports changes in the safety conditions of two structures, associated with the heavy rains that hit Minas Gerais:

  • Area IX dam: elevation of the emergency protocol to level 2 from level 1, after piezometric alterations on the right abutment of the structure. The structure is currently inactive and is included in the decharacterisation plan of Vale’s upstream structures.
  • Elefante dike: initiation of emergency protocol at level 1, after erosion on the right abutment of the structure, without compromising its overall stability. The sediment containment dike is in the process of being decharacterised.

The company has already initiated studies and corrective actions in both cases. There is no permanent occupation of people in the corresponding self-rescue zones and no additional evacuation is required.

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