(Adds detail on production report)
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 16 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Vale SA achieved record iron ore and pellet production for a second quarter despite a nationwide trucker strike that paralyzed Latin America’s largest economy in May, the miner said in a filing on Monday.
Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, said iron ore output reached 96.755 million tonnes in the period while pellet output hit 12.838 million tonnes, despite the strike over rising diesel prices.
The pickup came after a slip in iron ore production in the first quarter due to heavy rains, and as a campaign in China to cut pollution boosts demand for Vale’s top-quality iron ore.
Higher quality ore produces more steel for each tonne that is processed, and can reduce emissions as less coke is used in production.
Vale said it also reached a record in sales of iron ore and pellets for a second quarter, totaling 86.5 million tonnes combined.
The northern system, comprising its Carajás and S11D mines, also reached a record for a second quarter of 46.2 million tonnes, an 11.4 percent rise over the same period last year, thanks to the S11D ramp-up.
In May, Reuters reported that the company expected its iron ore output at S11D to reach 58 million tonnes this year, above an official forecast of 50 to 55 million tonnes.
The company, also the world’s top nickel producer, said nickel production reached 66,200 tonnes in the second quarter.
The truckers’ strike, which forced unpopular President Michel Temer to cut diesel prices through a mix of subsidies and tax cuts, is expected to cut into results across industries. Consumer products company Unilever reported a related slide in sales in the second quarter. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Marta Nogueira Editing by Frances Kerry)