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Vale to Continue to Operate Malaysia Iron Ore Terminal

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Vale S.A (VALE - Free Report) has confirmed that it will continue to operate the Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal (TRMT), located in Malaysia. Based on its discussions with the national and local agencies and authorities, Vale has assessed that it can continue to operate the TRMT. The terminal shipped 23.7 Mt of iron ore in 2019.

Vale had earlier announced it may suspend iron ore shipments to TRMT, starting Mar 21, which would have led to 800,000 tons in lost shipments over the first quarter. The company is working closely with the Malaysian government and also developing a contingency plan to keep the terminal operating. The company continues to focus on safeguarding employees and contractors, and comply with all the requirements of the Malaysian authorities.

Malaysia has a total of 673 coronavirus cases, per the situation report by the World Health Organization. The country has now closed its borders to the outside world and imposed a two-week lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The extent of the outbreak will determine whether the lockdown needs to be extended.

Vale had earlier announced that it is placing its Voisey's Bay mining operation in Canada on “care and maintenance” for a period of four weeks. The move is a precaution measure to help protect the health and well-being of Nunatsiavut and Innu indigenous communities in Labrador, and its own staff due the fly-in nature and higher exposure to travel of the remote mining operation. Voisey's Bay produced 25.0kt of copper in concentrate in 2019. The decision also impacts Voisey's Bay Mine Expansion project currently underway to transition to underground operations.

Vale also informed that due to travel and equipment transportation restrictions, it is revisiting its plans for the Mozambique coal processing plants stoppage. Notably, it was previously expected to commence operations in second-quarter 2020. A new date is under evaluation, which could ultimately affect coal production guidance for 2020.

The virus has become a major threat to public health worldwide. Both commodity and stock markets are bearing the brunt of the outbreak with disruption of global supply chain, businesses shutting down in China, the United States and Europe. Mining companies are halting their operations as different governments are imposing restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Price Performance

Vale’s shares have declined 47% in the past year in line with the industry.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Vale currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include Newmont Corporation (NEM - Free Report) , Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV - Free Report) and Novagold Resources Inc. (NG - Free Report) . While Newmont and Franco-Nevada currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Novagold carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Newmont has an anticipated earnings growth rate of 72% for the current year. The company’s shares have gained 22.7% in the past year.

Franco-Nevada has an expected earnings growth rate of 24.2% for 2020.  The stock has rallied 40.4% in a year’s time.

Novagold has an estimated earnings growth rate of 11.1% for fiscal 2020. The company’s shares have surged 86.4% over the past year.

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