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Brazilian miner Vale posts US$12.1b loss in 2015

[RIO DE JANEIRO] Brazilian mining giant Vale said Thursday it lost US$12.13 billion last year due to lower prices for iron ore, the sharp depreciation of the real and a mining accident that killed 19 people.

In 2014, Vale had posted a profit of US$657 million, but last year the Brazilian currency fell 47 per cent against the dollar, inflating the company's debt, while revenue declined and the price of iron ore - Vale's main export product - dropped 43 per cent, finance director Luciano Siani said.

World prices of iron ore fell from US$96.7 per ton in 2014 to US$55.5 per ton in 2015, he added.

As for the deadly accident, a reservoir containing mining waste burst in November, releasing a torrent of toxic sludge that buried a village and killed 19 people.

The government has called the accident the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history. The reservoir belonged to Samarco, which is jointly owned by Vale and Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton.

The government is negotiating huge compensation and cleanup payments with the mine owners.


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