Vale reports record output in Q1 as iron-ore price rallies

Vale

Brazilian diversified miner Vale has reported record iron-ore production at 77.5-million tonnes in the first quarter of 2016, representing the highest first-quarter production rate ever, but down 12% from the December-quarter.

Carajás, located in Brazil and the world’s largest iron-ore mine, achieved a production record for the period ended March 31 of 32.4-million tonnes, an increase of 17.7% over the past 12 months, mainly owing to the excellent performance of the N4WS and N5S mines.

Iron-ore prices had surged 44% since the year started, as Chinese mills ramped up output to take advantage of a rebound in steel prices.

Vale stated that iron-ore production in the first quarter and its profile for the remainder of 2016 indicated an annual output at the lower limit of the original guidance range of 340-million tonnes to 350-million tonnes for 2016. BHP Billiton had also on Wednesday lowered its iron-ore production expectations for 2016 by ten-million tonnes.

The mining company reported that it would produce 260-million tonnes of iron-ore in the financial year to the end of June 2016. The group aims to boost capacity to 290-million tonnes “over time”

The Tubarão pellet plants, which produced preferred input for blast furnaces, achieved a production record for a first quarter of 7.2-million, representing an increase of 100 000 t when compared with the same period last year, mainly attributable to an overall higher performance in the plants, the company advised.

Coal output reached 1.7-million tonnes, a 4.9% improvement quarter-over-quarter, boosted by higher metallurgical coal output in Australia. It was, however 1.9% lower than a year earlier, owing to lower production in Moatize, Mozambique.

The Moatize Coal Mine in Mozambique
The Moatize Coal Mine in Mozambique

Nickel output also hit record output at 73 500 t, an increase of 4 300 t year-over-year, mainly owing to the operational performance of Sudbury and the record output in Vale New Caledonia (VNC).

Copper output totalled 109 900 t in the quarter, up 5 300 t and was another production record for the period, as Salobo ramped up.

Gold production reached a record 118 100 oz, mainly owing to the operational performance of Sudbury and the successful ramp-up of Salobo.

Source: Mining Weekly