Anglo American announces that it has delivered first production on schedule from its $1.9 billion Barro Alto nickel project in Brazil. The Barro Alto nickel project is the first of Anglo American’s four major strategic growth projects to begin production and will be a key contributor to Anglo American’s 50% volume growth by 2015.

“We have achieved our first metal on schedule,” said Walter De Simoni, CEO, Anglo American’s nickel business. This new nickel plant will reach its full production capacity in the second half of 2012 and will average 41,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of nickel over its first five years of full production, making use of our low risk and proven technology and rotary kiln electric furnace process.”

“This is a major milestone as we develop a number of world class projects and drive 50% volume growth by 2015,” said Cynthia Carroll, CEO, Anglo American. “Barro Alto will more than double production from our nickel business, has a long life from its extensive resource base and a highly competitive cost position in the lower half of the cost curve. The safety performance of this project has been particularly impressive and was recognized as the safest mine in Brazil, with over 13 million LTI-free man-hours worked to September 2010.”

The engineers at Barro Alto placed great emphasis on reducing water consumption, creating a closed circuit which limits evaporation losses to 5%, and reusing rainwater in all of the project's industrial processes. Anglo American has the potential to increase production of nickel by an additional 66,000 mt/y from other projects in Brazil, leveraging the Group's considerable nickel laterite technical expertise.

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