Vale targets 400m tonnes of iron ore capacity per year

Brucutu, with annual capacity of 30m tonnes of iron ore, is the second largest mine in Brazil, behind Vale’s Carajás. (Image by Ricardo Teles | Vale)

Vale (NYSE: VALE) said on Wednesday it expects to reach an iron ore capacity of 400 million tonnes per year by increasing output across its operations.

The company currently has the capacity to produce 318 million tonnes a year. In 2018, before the Brumadinho dam collapse, Vale produced 385 million tonnes.

In an investor site visit presentation, the iron ore giant did not give an anticipated date to reach the new production level, but said it could reach 450 million tonnes of capacity per year “in the future.”

Vale has been returning to its pre-pandemic level operations as exports hit 33.4 million tonnes in July, up nearly 60% from May. For 2020, Vale has a production target between 310 million and 330 million tonnes.

This month, the company began producing high-grade iron ore fines for pelletizing at its new three-million-tonnes-a-year grinding hub at China’s Shulanghu Ore Transfer Terminal.

The unit, a partnership with Ningbo Zhoushan Port Group, is generating a completely new product, known as GF88. The high-grade ground iron ore fine uses the company’s flagship Carajás Fines as raw material and will partially feed the growing demand for pellets in China’s steel sector.

Last week the company said its board had approved a payment of $2.4075 reais (¢0.60) per share – $1.4102 (¢0.35) per share in the form of dividends and $0.9973 (¢0.25) per share in the form of interest on capital. Dividends were halted since the Brumadinho disaster in January 2019.

The payment will be made on September 30th, Vale said.