Vale SA (VALE5), the world’s largest iron- ore producer, said first-quarter output of the steelmaking ingredient dropped 3.5 percent, missing analyst estimates, after permitting shortages and operational constraints.
Iron-ore production declined to 67.5 million metric tons from 70 million tons a year earlier, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said in a statement today. Results were below the 68.3 million-ton average of seven analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg and contrasted with the 6 percent quarterly iron-ore output increase achieved by rivals BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s largest mining companies, which are expanding mines in Australia.
“Production dropped on a year-on-year basis, this time influenced by constraints related to permits and other operational issues,” Vale said in the statement after the close of regular trading hours. “Rainfall in our iron-ore mining sites in Brazil was in line with its seasonal pattern, being more concentrated on the coastal regions, raising challenges for the operation of our maritime terminals.”
While output at Carajas, the world’s largest iron-ore complex, declined 0.5 percent in the quarter, production at Vale’s mines in southeastern Brazil, which account for about 37 percent of the company’s total, dropped 7.4 percent.
Vale, the world’s second-largest nickel producer, said output for the metal rose 3.2 percent in the quarter to 65,000 tons, beating a 62,800-ton average forecast by seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Copper output gained 23 percent in the first quarter to a record 90,000 tons while coal output increased 17 percent to 1.75 million tons.
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