Startup at the Serra Sul 120 project (above) is expected to take place within the first half of 2024. (Photo: Vale)

The board of directors from the Brazilian mining company Vale approved the execution of the Serra Sul 120 Project, located in Canaã dos Carajás, which will increase the capacity at the S11D mining plant by 20 million metric tons per year (Mtpy), reaching a total of 120 Mtpy. The project has a multiyear investment of US$1.5 billion and its startup is expected to take place within the first half of 2024.

The project includes the opening of new mining areas; doubling the existing long-distance conveyor belt (TCLD); starting up new processing lines at the plant; and expanding storage areas, among other measures.

Vale estimated that Serra Sul 120 will create an important buffer of productive capacity, ensuring greater operational flexibility to face eventual production or licensing restrictions in the Northern System. The investment to double the existing TCLD, US$385 million, in addition to providing flexibility, also adds relevant elements for the reduction of operational risks, adding reliability to the system, the company added.

The project foresees investments in the mining plant that, together with the logistics solution under development, are aimed at increasing the total capacity of the Northern System by 20 Mtpy, up to 260 Mtpy. Expanding the capacity of the mining plant and developing additional logistics capacity are important steps in increasing iron ore volume, maximizing margin, and optimizing flight quality.

With the anticipation of the Serra Sul 120 project and the delay in the execution of projects in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vale reported it will review and update its investment guidelines of US$5 million for 2021 and US$4.5 million for the period between 2022 and 2024.