Vale’s transshipments at Subic Bay affected by heavy rains

Vale has been ordered to suspend its iron ore transshipment during heavy rain in the Philippines’ Subic Bay out of concerns over pollution.

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“It is the heavy rain that is affecting normal transshipment of iron ore at Subic Bay rather than polluted spillage,” an industry source close to Vale told Steel First.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) had investigated iron ore spillage from Vale’s vessels out of concerns over pollution, according to local media reports.

The authority has given the assurance that minimal spillage of iron ore is not hazardous but it told Vale to refrain from transferring iron ore between vessels during heavy rain as a precaution.

“The impact of this is not known yet,” the source said.

“The impact will be negligible. It is quite normal to suspend operations for some time when there is heavy rain,” another industry source in Singapore said.

SBMA has yet to respond to queries from Steel First.

Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner, aims to cut freight cost by using very large ore carriers (VLOCs), which can ship up to 400,000 tonnes of the steelmaking raw material, in its operations.

But China has not given its approval for such VLOCs to dock at its ports, which forces the Brazilian miner to transfer ore to smaller vessels in the Subic Bay.