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  • Thu, Oct. 20, 2:21 PM
    • Brazilian federal prosecutors file homicide charges against 21 people in connection with last year's catastrophic Samarco tailings dam collapse that killed 19 people.
    • The people charged include current and former officials of Vale (VALE +3.1%) and BHP Billiton (BHP +0.1%) and their Samarco joint venture, among them former Samarco CEO Ricardo Vescovi, Vale’s current iron ore director Peter Poppinga, and five Vale and BHP officials who sat on Samarco’s board in recent years.
    • In addition to the criminal case, Brazilian federal prosecutors in May filed a civil lawsuit against Vale, BHP and Samarco seeking 155B reais ($49B) in damages.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 2:21 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 8:23 AM
    • Vale (NYSE:VALEcuts its forecast for 2017 iron ore production to 360M-380M metric tons, below its original forecast for 380M-400M metric tons, as it continues to phase out higher-cost production.
    • The world's top producer of the steel-making raw material already said in July it would not meet the original target but had not provided a new range.
    • Vale says it produced 92.1M tons of iron ore during Q3, up 1.5% Y/Y and 6.1% Q/Q; the Carajás mining complex hit a new production record of 38.7M metric tons of iron ore in the quarter.
    • The company maintains its production estimate for 2016, saying it would be at the lower end of a range of 340M-350M metric tons.
    • Vale's Q3 nickel production totaled 76K metric tons, up 6.1% Y/Y but down 3.3% Q/Q due to scheduled maintenance work at plants in New Caledonia and Canada.
    • Shares +0.8% premarket.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 8:23 AM | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 6, 8:18 AM
    • Vale's (NYSE:VALE) plan to dispose of fertilizer assets remains on track despite a request last week by Brazil's state development bank to analyze the deal more carefully, Reuters reports.
    • Terms of the deal, which involves the sale of ~$3.6B in assets to Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) and potentially certain other operations with Norway's Yara International (OTCPK:YARIY), are unlikely to change significantly, according to the report.
    • The bank reportedly pushed back the vote on the fertilizer deal at a Vale board meeting last Thursday.
    | Thu, Oct. 6, 8:18 AM | 7 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 5, 12:27 PM
    • Vale (VALE +1.7%) CEO Murilo Ferreira's strategy of shifting away from its home state of Minas Gerais and toward new deposits in northern Brazil is helping the company outperform its peers in the stock market but is upsetting home state politicians, Bloomberg reports.
    • While such local opposition normally would be of little concern for an independently run company, Vale is controlled by a holding company whose owners include state pension funds and a development bank, and the company's changes come while the new government is suffering from a recession and looking to distance itself from anyone with perceived allegiances to the previous administration.
    • The northern push will allow Vale to start shipping low-cost, high-grade ore early next year from its new $14B S11D mining complex, using state-of-the-art logistics not found in Minas Gerais.
    • But Ferreira is at the center of a growing national controversy over whether his efforts, which are helping Vale thrive, are hurting a region of the country that has served as the company’s cash cow.
    | Wed, Oct. 5, 12:27 PM | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 12:58 PM
    • Fortescue Metals (OTCQX:FSUMF) CEO Nev Power dismisses concerns about oversupply in the iron ore market, taking the view that a prolonged commodity crash is finally giving way to a cyclical upturn.
    • "There is stability in demand in China, and most of the new large volume supply has already come on to the market," Power tells Financial Times, adding that some forecasters are overestimating the speed at which new supply would materialize.
    • The CEO says long-term iron ore demand and price would be determined by Chinese economic policy and the rate of growth in emerging economies across Asia, and that “the demand side will be much more important than new supply.”
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 12:58 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 4:49 PM
    • Vale (NYSE:VALE) says it reached agreement on new terms with Mitsui (OTCPK:MITSY) for the sale of a stake in its Moatize coal mine and connected railway in Mozambique.
    • Under the new terms, Mitsui will contribute up to $450M for 15% of Vale's 95% stake in the mine - with $255M guaranteed while $195M depends on attaining unspecified goals related to the mine's performance - and $348M for 50% of Vale's 70% stake in assets related to the Nacala Corridor, a railway and port connected to the mine; in the original deal announced in December 2014, Mitsui had agreed to an upfront payment of $450M.
    • The deal had not closed because of problems in securing long-term financing for the project, which is one of Africa's biggest at $4.4B in estimated total costs; Vale already has poured ~$2B into it.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 4:49 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 11:27 AM
    • Vale (VALE +0.8%) CEO Murilo Ferrira says he expects balanced supply and demand in the iron ore market to continue, with Brazil adding most of the world's new seaborne supply in 2017.
    • Brazil will add 28M metric tons of ore to the seaborne market in 2017, 58% of the net new supply in the main international market for high-quality ore, the company says.
    • Vale shares have been rising - up more than 11% over five trading days - with the company's board of directors reportedly set to approve asset sales; the Moatze coal mine has a suitor in Japan's Mitsui, but there have been no reports of an interested buyer for the fertilizer business since discussions regarding the sale are in the early stages.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 11:27 AM
  • Tue, Sep. 27, 4:22 AM
    • Brazil's Samarco, which suspended operations in November after a fatal dam disaster, did not make an interest payment on a $500M bond that was due yesterday.
    • It will now have a 30-day grace period to make the payment.
    • The news could spell trouble for co-owners Vale (NYSE:VALE) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), which have already discussed a potential debt restructuring for the operation.
    | Tue, Sep. 27, 4:22 AM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 11:53 AM
    • Brazil and Australia, the world’s two largest iron ore exporters, each will add ~100M metric tons of supply through the end of the decade, boosting the global glut and hurting prices, Citigroup says.
    • Shipments from Brazil will expand to 480M tons in 2020 from 371M this year, as Vale (VALE +0.2%) gets set to start a four-year ramp-up of its S11D project, and shipments from Australia, including BHP Billiton (BHP +1%) and Rio Tinto (RIO -0.1%), will rise to 934M tons from 835M, hiking the surplus to 56M tons in 2018 from 20M this year, Citi says
    • However, Citi also forecasts the global surplus likely will start to shrink after 2018, dropping from 56M tons that year to just 8M in 2019, andestimates price-induced curtailments would total ~150M tons in 2018 and more than twice that figure in 2020.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 11:53 AM | 9 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 21, 2:37 PM
    • BHP Billiton (BHP +2.9%) warns that Brazil’s impending wet season may result in further environmental damage due to the failed Samarco dam, carrying the risk of new fines and legal claims.
    • BHP says in its annual report that work is underway to reinforce dam structures to help contain tailings as the November-to-April rainy season arrives, but new releases or movement of tailings could cause further harm to the environment and have an effect on the feasibility and timing of a Samarco restart.
    • Total potential liabilities related to legal proceedings and enforcement actions “cannot be reliably estimated at this time,” BHP says, as the Samarco joint venture with Vale (VALE +5.3%) has been named in more than 23K small claims in addition to public civil claims made by federal and regional authorities in Brazil.
    | Wed, Sep. 21, 2:37 PM
  • Wed, Sep. 21, 11:58 AM
    • Vale (VALE +4.1%) shoots higher on speculation that it would announce the sale of 75% of a fertilizers unit to Mosaic (MOS +0.9%) for ~$3B, perhaps as early as today.
    • An O Globo newspaper online blog also said a sale of the remaining 25% of the unit was being negotiated with an undisclosed bidder for ~$1B.
    • Based on information from the O Globo blog, MOS would pay the equivalent of 15x the unit's operational earnings, a "very accretive multiple," according to Banco BTG Pactual.
    | Wed, Sep. 21, 11:58 AM | 3 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 10:40 AM
    • The world’s top iron ore suppliers including Vale (VALE +0.4%), BHP Billiton (BHP +1.6%) and Rio Tinto (RIO -0.1%) will add nearly 50M tons of supply in the 12 months to next June, undermining prices and feeding a global glut, Liberum Capital says.
    • The group is set to supply 686M metric tons in H1 2017, from 677.8M tons this half and 636.3M tons in H1 2016, Liberum says.
    • “Despite the ‘value-over-volume’ mantra being adopted by Rio and Vale, we still expect iron ore supply growth to accelerate quickly in 2017,” the report says, noting that Vale likely will add a net 20M tons next year as its S11D project comes online.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 10:40 AM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 8:59 AM
    • Vale (NYSE:VALE) says production from its new S11D iron ore mine in the Amazon region will be limited to 83% of full capacity as efforts to preserve cash and limit transport disruptions hamper a needed railway expansion.
    • The $14.3B project was expected to produce up to 90M metric tons/year of iron ore after a two-year ramp-up scheduled to begin by year-end, but instead S11D will deliver up to 75M tons to international sea-borne clients after a four-year ramp-up.
    • S11D is one of two giant iron ore mines in Vale's Carajas resource complex in Brazil's northern state of Para; the other mine, Serra Norte, is producing 155M metric tons/year.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 8:59 AM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 16, 2:35 PM
    • Vale (VALE -1.1%) says Brazil's government has granted it a 10-year license to operate a 63-mile branch line connecting its S11D iron ore mine project in the Amazon jungle to the Carajas Railway.
    • The branch will allow Vale to haul iron ore from the $14.3B project to the Port of Ponta da Madeira to ships that will load the product for export.
    • S11D is expected to start operations this year and will have a capacity of 90M metric tons/year, or more than 25% of Vale's 2015 iron ore output.
    | Fri, Sep. 16, 2:35 PM
  • Thu, Sep. 15, 5:36 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5.25 p.m.: SCOR +6.4%. CAR +6.2%. AINV +3.0%. EMR +2.4%. GSK +2.3%.
    • Top losers, as of 5.25p.m.: ORCL -3.1%. MT -2.7%. CS -2.4%. ERIC -2.2%. VALE -2.0%.
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 5:36 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 15, 7:59 AM
    • The prospect of iron ore at below $50/metric ton is back in view following the longest losing streak in more than five months, dropping 5.8% in the past seven sessions to $55.97.
    • Iron ore's September retreated has rekindled speculation that rising supply from mine ramp-ups and new projects may soon drag prices lower; for example, the Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara is expected to reach full annual capacity of 55M tons in early 2017.
    • Vale (NYSE:VALE) says that while its S11D project has capacity to produce 90M tons/year, constraints mean the net gain will be 75M tons, and it will take four years to reach full output.
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) says prices likely will drop as the underperformance of supply this year is reversed over the next 12-18 months.
    • Other relevant tickers include RIO, OTCQX:FSUMF and CLF.
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 7:59 AM | 9 Comments