Heavy rains in MG stop Vale, Usiminas and Vallourec operations


Intense rains that hit Minas Gerais paralyzed operations at Vale, Usiminas and interdicted the Pau Branco iron ore mine, owned by French company Vallourec, putting companies and communities on alert in the important state for the country’s mining sector.

The mining company Vale reported this Monday (10) that it has partially paralyzed production in the Southeast and South Systems “in order to guarantee the safety of its employees and communities”, due to the high level of rains that hit Minas Gerais.

According to a statement, the circulation of trains on the EFVM (Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas) was affected.

Despite the stoppage, Vale maintained its production target of 320 million to 335 million tons of iron ore for 2022, with the company citing that the Northern System continues to operate according to plans, which consider the seasonal impact of the rainy season on all the operations.

According to Vale, in the Southeast System, the EFVM was paralyzed along the Piracicaba-João Monlevade stretch, preventing the flow of material from the Brucutu mine and the Mariana complex, “which have suspended production.”

The Desembargador Drummond-Nova Era section is also at a standstill, but in the release phase and has not affected production at the Itabira Complex.

In the Southern System, production at all complexes is temporarily paralyzed, due to the interdiction of sections of the BR-040 and MG-030 highways and the safety of the movement of employees and third parties.

Part of the BR-040 was closed over the weekend after the overflow of a water containment dike at Vallourec’s Pau Branco mine, which led the ANM (National Mining Agency) to interdict operations.

Vale also said that “there was no change in the emergency level in any of its structures, which are permanently monitored by inspections, maintenance, radars, robotic stations, video cameras and instruments, such as manual and automatic piezometers”.

Concern about dams in the state follows two deadly disasters in recent years: in Brumadinho, by Vale; and in Mariana, by Samarco.

Musa (Mineração Usiminas), a subsidiary of the steel company, also had its operations temporarily paralyzed due to heavy rains in the region of Itatiaiuçu (MG).

In addition, the company informed that the level 1 of the PAEBM (Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams) was activated on Saturday for its Central Dam, deactivated since 2014. This condition means an initial state of alert and does not represent a compromise of the factors of security.

The region of the Carioca dam, of the hydroelectric plant owned by Companhia de Tecidos Santanense, located in the municipality of Pará de Minas, is also on alert, according to authorities.

“This dam went through a flood event, given the heavy rains that hit the state of Minas Gerais”, said regulator Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency).

Preventively, the Civil Defense evacuated dozens of people who were in risk areas, according to a statement from the government of Minas Gerais.

Amid heavy rains in the state, at least 10 people died after rocks were released from a canyon in the Furnas lake in Capitólio (MG), over the weekend.


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