Brazilian miner Vale produced 85.3 million metric tons (mt) of iron ore in the second quarter of 2015, representing the second highest quarterly production in Vale’s history and the highest production in a second quarter. Vale’s iron ore production in the first half of 2015 reached a new record of 159.8 million mt, 9.3 million mt higher than in the first half of 2014.
In May, Vale was granted an operational license for the extension of the N5S mine, which will support improvements in its average product quality and reduce production costs as a result of lower strip ratios and lower average haulage distances in Carajás. N5S is part of the N5 ore body, a world-class asset, with 888 million mt of proven and probable reserves and an average Fe content of 67.2%.
During the second quarter, Vale produced 9.8 million mt from the N4WS mine, which has ore with 65.1% Fe and low phosphorus levels. During the second half of the year, the company expects to be mining even higher Fe content ores with lower contaminant levels as it completes the pre-stripping for the mine and reduces the processing of the first ore layer.
Excluding Samarco’s attributable production of 3.6 million mt, Vale’s pellet production was 12.2 million mt in 2Q15 — a historical quarterly production record — based on the performance of the Oman and the Vargem Grande pellet plants.
Nickel production reached 67,100 mt in the second quarter, 8.7% higher than in the second quarter of 2014. Nickel production was 136,300 mt in the first half of the year and will increase in the second quarter as PTVI, VNC and Onça Puma will operate at full capacity as their planned maintenance shutdowns for the year were completed in the first half of the year and as Long Harbour continues to ramp up.
Copper output was 104,900 mt in the second quarter, the best performance for a second quarter, which was 29.5% higher than in the second quarter of 2014. In the first half of the year, copper production was 212,000 mt and will increase in the second half as the company ramps up the Salobo operation.