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Vale's Salobo mine hits 32 Mtpa milestone, eyes 36 million by 2024

Published Nov 24, 2023 05:30
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Vale's Salobo mine has reached a significant production milestone, achieving an annual throughput rate of 32 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) as part of the first phase of its Salobo III expansion project. The $1.1 billion initiative, which began in 2019, is on track to boost capacity to an expected 36 million tonnes per year (t/y) by the fourth quarter of next year.

The recent completion of the phase one throughput test at Salobo III marks a major achievement under Vale's streaming agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE:WPM). This agreement facilitated a $370 million payment from Wheaton to Vale and includes provisions for additional financial incentives based on future throughput capacities and copper grade output over the coming decade.

Located within Vale’s extensive Carajás holdings, which span approximately 1,800 square kilometers, Salobo is recognized as Brazil’s largest copper deposit. It is situated in a region known for its iron oxide copper-gold deposits. This expansion is particularly timely as mining companies worldwide are in urgent search of new reserves amidst predictions of a potential copper supply deficit. Analysts at BloombergNEF have forecasted that this shortfall could drive copper prices up by an estimated 20% within the next four years.

Vale's strategic move to increase Salobo's capacity underscores its commitment to enhancing copper production—an essential component for the global energy transition—while continuing to provide high-quality products to the international market. The successful increase in throughput at Salobo III demonstrates Vale's focus on operational excellence and positions the company to capitalize on the projected increase in copper demand.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

Vale's Salobo mine hits 32 Mtpa milestone, eyes 36 million by 2024
 

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