Energy

Brazil's Vale closes mines after prosecutors order evacuation of dam area

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The logo of the Brazilian mining company Vale SA is seen in Brumadinho, Brazil January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo/File Photo

SAO PAULO, June 4 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE3.SA) has interrupted production at its Timbopeba mine and part of its Alegria mine after prosecutors ordered the evacuation of an area around the nearby Xingu dam, the company said in a securities filing.

The closures, in the state of Minas Gerais where Vale has been involved in two dam burst disasters, will reduce its output by 40,000 iron ore tonnes a day, it said.

In 2015 a dam operated by Samarco, a joint venture between Vale and BHP Group (BHPB.L) in the town of Mariana, burst, followed in 2019 by another in the town of Brumadinho which killed almost 300 people.

Vale said there is no "imminent risk" of the Xingu dam bursting.

The company stopped traffic on the Fabrica Nova railroad, which usually transports iron ore produced at Usina Timbopeba. Timbopeba was closed temporarily, reducing production by 33,000 iron ore tonnes a day, the company said.

"The company is working to resume operations, focusing on the safety of employees and surrounding communities", Vale said, without elaborating further.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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