Brazilian miner Vale’s production guidance for iron ore in 2021 is 315-335mn mt; while that for copper stands at 360,000-380,000mt. The company expects the production average for nickel between 2021 and 2023 to reach 200,000mt.
In Q1 2021 (Jan-March), the company’s iron ore fines production was 68mn mt, up by 14.2pc from the prior-year quarter. Production rose on operational stabilization and gradual resumption of halted operations at Timbopeba, Fábrica, and Vargem Grande complexes throughout 2020. Other factors that aided growth were lower January rainfall, improved performance at Serra Leste. But scheduled maintenance at S11D and lower performance at Itabira partially offset this growth. Output declined by 19.5pc from the preceding quarter on usual seasonality.
The commissioning of Timbopeba’s beneficiation lines in the quarter added 7mn mt capacity taking Vale’s annual capacity to 327mn mt.
Pellet production in the quarter was 6.3mn mt, a decline of 9.2pc compared to Q1 2020 because of lower feed availability from Itabira and Brucutu. Through 2021, however, Vale expects pellet feed to rise with higher availability from Timbopeba and Vargem Grande.
Copper production in Q1 dipped by 19pc from Q1 2020 to 76,500mt. From the preceding quarter, it declined by 18pc. Copper output declined as scheduled and unscheduled activities at Sossego operations took longer than expected amid COVID-19-related movement restrictions. Challenged by the resurgence of the pandemic, the company expects its copper output to be on the lower spectrum of the production guidance.