Output of Brazil mining giant Vale down in 2012

Brazil's mining giant Vale said Friday its iron ore production fell 0.8 percent in 2012 to 319 million tons, compared with the previous year.

In 2011, the company produced 322.6 million tons.

The 2012 result benefited from a high fourth-quarter output of 85.5 million tons, helped by the end of preparations for the N5 Sul mine in Carajas, in the Amazon rainforest, and by unusually low rainfall in the region.

The rains normally disrupt year-end production at the mine.

Vale owns the Carajas iron ore mine, the world's largest with 7.2 billion metric tons in proven and provable reserves, located in the northern state of Para.

In December, the Brazilian mining behemoth announced a 24 percent drop in its investment budget for 2013 to $16.3 billion, anticipating "a moderate expansion" of global demand in the sector.

Two months earlier, it reported a 66.2 percent drop in third-quarter net profit, citing lower international prices for iron, nickel and copper due to the global slowdown.

Iron ore represents 90 percent of Vale's profits.

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