Brazilian mining and metals company Vale SA has released its 2021 copper guidance between 360,000-380,000mt, same as the 2020 guidance which it had revised in April from 400,000mt. In Q4, 2020, the company’s iron ore fines and copper production was lower compared to same quarter in 2019, while nickel production was almost flat.
The company plans to increase investment by 31pc in two new projects for iron ore expansion, Serra Sul 120 and Capanema, bringing the total amount for 2021 to $5.8bn.
Iron ore fines
In its Q4 results released on Feb 26, Vale said the quarter ended strong after it partially resumed iron ore mining which had stopped completely in 2019. Iron ore fines production was 5pc lower than Q3 at 84,500mt because of higher rainfall and tailings disposal restrictions. Even after restrictions, Vale produced 322,000mt of iron ore fines and expects to achieve production of 350,000mt by the end of 2021.
Total iron pellet production in 2020 was 29,700mt, which is 29pc lower than 2019. Pellet production in fourth quarter of 2020 was 7,100mt, down 1,400mt compared to Q3. A lower pellet feed availability from its operations is proving to be a bottleneck.
Finished nickel production was at 183,700mt in 2020, flat from 2019. Q4 production totalled 55,900mt, which was 19pc higher than Q3.
Copper production reached 360,100mt in 2020, which was 5.5pc lower than prior year. Production in Q4 was at 93,500mt, which was 7pc higher compared to previous quarter.
Sales increased 25.9pc for iron ore, 15.5pc for copper and 13.6pc for nickel as compared to prior year. The company sold 91,300mt iron ore fines and pellets with a premium of $4.3/mt. Its China sales in Q4 were 64,000mt, as compared to 58,000mt in prior year quarter. Vale reported consolidated net operating revenue of $40bn in 2020, up by 7pc than prior year. In Q4, adjusted EBITDA of base metals was $1.138bn, which was $368mn higher than Q3.