Vale falls behind Rio Tinto in global iron ore rankings after output fall

Vale SA has announced a sharp decline iron ore output in the final quarter of 2019, which has seen the Brazilian mining giant lose its position as the world’s largest iron ore producer to Rio Tinto.

The company reported a 22.4% fall in Q4 iron ore production from the same period in the previous year and a 9.6% drop in quarterly terms in its latest production and sales report.

In addition to a drop in iron ore output, Vale reported a fall in Q4 production in annual terms for all other products, with pellet and coal production falling by 40.5% and 39.6%, respectively.

The firm left its 2020 iron ore production guidance unchanged but revised its pellet production forecast down to 44 million tonnes (Mt) from 49Mt, partly as a result of the suspension of the Laranjeiras dam over stability concerns.

Vale also announced the allocation of US$671 million in net additional provisions towards dam characterisations at several mines across Brazil, following the Brumadinho burst in January 2019, which killed 270 people.

In its production and sales report, Vale called 2019 ‘the most challenging year of its history’, but highlighted its ‘steady commitment to resume and stabilise production, while implementing the highest safety standards across its operations’.