Vale would like to update the market on the steps and policies it is taking to safeguard its employees, businesses and communities surrounding its operations from the threats that are being posed by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and on the consequences of such measures.
On this date, Vale took the decision to ramp down its Voisey’s Bay mining operation and place it on care and maintenance for a period of four weeks, as a precaution to help protect the health and well-being of Nunatsiavut and Innu indigenous communities in Labrador in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although none of our employees has tested positive for coronavirus at any of Vale’s global operations, Vale has taken this preventive action because of the unique remoteness of that area, with fly-in and fly-out operations, with higher exposure to travel. Vale will work together with the communities and authorities to ensure our operations do not act as a catalyst to inadvertently introduce the virus in these communities.
The Long Harbour Processing Plant (LHPP) continues to operate and nickel and cobalt production should not be affected, given the availability of stockpiled concentrates to feed the LHPP well past the four-week care and maintenance period, while the copper concentrate production at site will be reduced proportionally to the period of mine stoppage (Voisey’s Bay produced 25.0kt of copper in concentrate in 2019). The decision also impacts Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion project currently underway to transition to underground operations.
Vale also informs that due to travel and equipment transportation restrictions, as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, it is revisiting its plans for the Mozambique coal processing plants stoppage. The halting of operations was previously expected to start in 2Q20, and a new date is under evaluation, which could ultimately affect coal production guidance for 2020.
Additionally, and also due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the great majority of Vale’s and third-party employees based in our corporate offices will work in home-office regime starting today. The measure aims to safeguard our employees, reducing the number of people in the same workspace and the exposure to public spaces, such as busses, subways and elevators.
Vale reaffirms its commitment to the safety of its people and the communities in which it operates and will keep investors and markets informed of future developments.