This Morning in Metals: Charges to be Filed Related to Vale Dam Collapse

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This morning in metals news, the Wall Street Journal reported the Brazilian government plans to file charges in relation to the fatal Vale SA tailings dam collapse earlier this year, Tata Steel’s European workers are having doubts about the proposed Thyssenkrupp merger, the U.S. and China reportedly made a breakthrough this week in their ongoing trade talks.

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Brazil to File Charges After January’s Dam Collapse

The Wall Street Journal this week reported the Brazilian government plans to file charges in connection with the collapse of one of miner Vale SA’s tailings dams in January (which left hundreds dead).

The collapse occurred in late January at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao mine in Brumadinho, located in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

Second Thoughts

Some Tata Steel employees in Europe are questioning the balance of the planned merger with German firm Thyssenkrupp, Bloomberg reported.

The merger, which is under review by Europe’s competition authorities, would yield Europe’s second-largest steelmaking entity.

“The EWC will continue to support the joint venture only if we consider it to be in the best interests of the workforce at all our sites,” Tata’s work council said in a statement, as quoted by Bloomberg. “Due to these recent developments, we are now unconvinced the joint venture is the best option for Tata Steel Europe.”

U.S.-China Trade Talks

Trade talks between the U.S. and China continued this week, as the two sides aim to reach a resolution to the conflict that boiled over last year to the tune of a total of $360 billion in tariffs on each other’s goods.

The question for many, however, has been about enforcement — whatever deal was reached on paper, the U.S. has sought assurance of compliance.

In that vein, this week the two sides reached an agreement regarding the setup of trade enforcement offices.

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“We’ve pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC, as quoted by Bloomberg. “We’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters. So this is something that both sides are taking very seriously.”

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