Vale is to increase the capacity of its S11D iron ore operation, in Canaã dos Carajás, Brazil, after its Board of Directors approved the implementation of the Serra Sul 120 project.
The $1.5 billion Serra Sul 120 project will see the S11D mine-plant capacity increase by 20 Mt/y to 120 Mt/y. Start-up is expected in the first half of 2024, Vale says.
The project includes the opening of new mining areas, the duplication of the long-distance conveyor, the implementation of new processing lines at the plant and the expansion of storage areas, among other measures.
“The Serra Sul 120 project will create an important buffer of productive capacity, ensuring greater operational flexibility to face eventual production or licensing restrictions in the Northern System,” Vale said.
The $385 million investment to duplicate the existing long-distance conveyor, in addition to providing flexibility, also aggregates important elements for the reduction of operational risks, adding reliability to the system, according to the company. The existing long distance conveyor is part of a major in-pit crushing and conveying system at the mine. It could see Vale’s Northern System capacity rise by 20 Mt/y to 260 Mt/y.
“The expansion of the mine-plant capacity and the development of additional logistics capacity are important steps for the iron ore volume growth, the maximisation of margin and the flight-to-quality optimisation,” the company said.
With the anticipated investment for Serra Sul 120 and the delay in the execution of projects in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vale says it will, in due course, revise and update its investment guidance for 2021, currently at $5 billion, and in the period between 2022-2024, with an average of $4.5 billion.