Vale plans to expand its Serra Leste mine in Minas Gerais, and restart the Samarco facility, which is operated jointly with BHP, to increase its iron ore output.
According to the company’s Q2 earnings outlook, it received a preliminary license for expansion of the Serra Leste mine in June, which has an estimated reserve of 307mn mt of 65pc Fe. The expansion will increase the mine’s output from 6mn mt to 10mn mt annually. Once the final approvals come through, Vale will move in line with its 2022 iron ore production guidance of 400mn mt per year, the company indicated.
The Samarco pellet plant may restart operations by December this year, as initially predicted by the company since the Brazilian government’s nod in October 2019. At its peak, the plant had a yearly output of 24.9mn mt in 2015. The facility was shut down due to a tailings dam mishap in Brumhadino that reportedly killed 400 people and posed further environmental risks.