NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Vale's (VALE) - Get Report CEO may have been ousted this weekend, according to a report in a Brazilian newspaper, citing an anonymous government official.

Tensions between Chief Executive Agnelli and the government had risen in recent weeks, with calls for the CEO's resignation growing more frequent despite Vale's financial success. In 2010, the company earned $17.3 billion, a record profit. The government had criticized Agnelli for not investing enough in Brazil to its liking.

Vale CEO Roger Agnelli at the New York Stock Exchange in October 2010.

The Rio-based mining concern, the biggest iron-ore extractor in the world, is still effectively majority-controlled by the Brazilian government, which privatized Vale in 1997.


report on Agnelli's ouster appeared Sunday

in the Sao Paulo newspaper

O Estado de Sao Paulo

. It described his departure as a fait accompli. According to the government source quoted in the article, the process for finding a replacement was already well underway.

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Vale's American depositary receipts were changing hands at $32.01 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, down 1%.

Shares of the company's global rivals -- the Anglo-Australia pair

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get Report


Rio Tinto

(RIO) - Get Report

-- were rising modestly in the early going. BHP was up two pennies to $90.69, while Rio was gaining 12 cents to $68.39

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York


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