According to Brazilian media reports, Vale SA was ordered by a Brazilian court to suspend operations at two more dams, requesting that the world’s largest iron ore miner proves the structures are stable.
The court decision, dates last Friday, is one of many issued by the 2nd Civil Court of Nova Lima, at the request of the Public Defender's Office of the State of Minas Gerais and by the Public Prosecution Office of the State of Minas Gerais.
The orders force Vale to halt operations at various dams that contain the muddy detritus of mining operations after one such barrier collapsed in January, killing some 300 people. The fatal disaster in the town of Brumadinho was the second of its kind in four years.
The company's iron ore production is expected to be 82.8 million tons, or 21 per cent lower than was planned for the year due to the restrictions on its Brazil operations, including the planned decommissioning of all its upstream dams.
Adding to the its woes, Vale also announced that the court has granted an injunction to block funds on Vale's bank accounts on the total amount of 1 billion reais (approximately AU$ 260 milllion), aiming to grant eventual reimbursements to cover for losses from the removal occurred in the community of Sebastião de Águas Claras, Macacos.
In addition to the block of funds, the decision also requires that Vale pays for the sheltering, lodging, maintenance and feeding of the removed people, besides the adoption of other measures aiming to grant assistance to the affected community.
In a statement, Vale reports that it was not formally notified of the decision and will take the appropriate measures in due course.
The measure is just the last one of a string of sanctions against the Rio de Janeiro-based company, which last week was forced to shut its Timbopeba mine in Minas Gerais state, which produces 12.8 million tonnes of iron ore per year, due to safety concerns.
In related news Vale SA said it was granted a court injunction allowing it to resume iron ore shipping operations at the Ilha Guaíba port terminal in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro state.
In a securities filing, Vale said local authorities at Ilha Guaíba terminal were already notified of the injunction and authorized the resumption of operations at the site, from where the company ships around 40 million tons of iron ore per year, or around 10 per cent of its expected production in 2019 prior the Brumadinho disaster.
In another statement, Vale has stated that the Board of Directors has decided to change the composition of the Extraordinary Independent Consulting Committee for Dam Safety (CIAESB) with the sole objective of equipping it with even greater international technical expertise in dams, promoting the integration of Pedro Repetto to this Committee, ans replacing Alberto Fabrini.
The CIAESB will be dedicated to providing support to the Board of Directors in questions related to the diagnosis of safety conditions, management and risk mitigation related to Vale’s ore dams, also providing recommendations of actions to strengthen safety conditions of those dams.
“All the indications for the composition of this committee were based on recommendations of the international consulting company Korn Ferry,” said Vale in a statement.