Minas-Rio iron ore pipeline inspection may take 90 days, Anglo American says

Anglo American’s Minas-Rio iron ore operations in Brazil are expected to remain suspended for approximately 90 days while the miner carries out a full inspection following a pipeline leak last week.

“Due to the length of the pipeline and ensuring the protection of the natural environment, the current expectation is that it will take approximately 90 days for the full inspection to be completed, during which time operations at Minas-Rio will remain suspended,” it said on Tuesday April 3.

The miner had told Metal Bulletin on Monday that it had halted iron ore output again at the operation.

The operation was suspended on Thursday March 29 following a minor leak, which was identified in the pipeline that carries iron ore in slurry form from the mine to the export terminal.

A similar leak had taken place on March 12, following which the miner stopped iron ore production.

Anglo American resumed iron ore output at Minas-Rio on March 27 after approval was granted by the country’s environmental institute, Ibama.

“Specialized technical equipment will now be used to identify any other areas of potential weakness within the pipeline,” the miner said on Tuesday.

Anglo American’s marketing business is engaging with its customers in relation to product delivery schedules, it added.

Output at Minas-Rio operations, which produce high-grade iron ore, stood at 16.8 million wet metric tonnes of iron ore last year, up 4% on an annual basis.

Metal Bulletin’s 66% Fe iron concentrate index stood at $86.64 per tonne on Thursday March 29, down from $88.19 per tonne a week earlier.

The drop in the fines segment was steeper, with Metal Bulletin’s 65% Fe iron ore index average at $80.68 per tonne last week, compared with $83.06 per tonne a week before.

The benchmark Metal Bulletin 62% Fe iron ore index averaged $64.40 per tonne cfr China last week, compared with $66.68 per tonne a week earlier.

Market confidence was shaken recently by escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. This has made some mills hesitant about placing orders for seaborne cargoes.