Brazil's Vale iron ore output rose 8 percent in fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Vale SA is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Tuesday that total iron ore output rose 8.2 percent in annual terms to 100.988 million tonnes in the fourth quarter, which closed about a month before the collapse of its tailings dam at Brumadinho killed hundreds of people.

For all of 2018, Vale’s output was 384.639 million tonnes, slightly below its previously divulged outlook of 390 million tonnes.

Since the collapse, the company, the world’s biggest iron ore miner, has halted operations at various mines, in some cases voluntarily, in others under court order, as it and regulators scrambled to avoid a recurrence of the deadly Brumadinho disaster, which itself followed a similar collapse in 2015.

The company said on Tuesday that the annualized impact to iron ore production resulting from events linked to the dam break currently stands at about 92.8 million tonnes.

The production figures were divulged a day ahead of quarterly results for Vale, which investors are expected to scour for information about its game plan for putting the disaster behind it.

Vale shares are down 12 percent since the late January accident, which unleashed a torrent of toxic mud that engulfed a cafeteria, other company buildings and a nearby bed and breakfast.

The company had previously said it expected to produce 400 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019, but with some 80 million tonnes of capacity offline, that is unlikely.

Reporting By Christian Plumb and Gram Slattery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky