Vale has budgeted $21.4 billion for capital expenditures in 2012, including $12.9 billion for project execution, $2.4 billion for research and development (R&D), and $6.1 billion for sustaining existing operations. Vale has 20 major projects under construction to implement organic growth, and these projects account for 75% of the project execution budget.

Geographically, 63.7% of Vale’s 2012 capital spending will be in Brazil, with the remainder going 6% to South America outside Brazil, 11.7% to Canada, 9.1% to Africa, 5.7% to Asia, 3.3% to Australasia and 0.5% to others. By business area, the spending will go 46.7% to ferrous minerals, 21.6% to base metals, 9.6% to fertilizers, 8.9% to coal, 3.6% to power generation, 2.9% to steel, 2.4% to logistics for general cargo, and 4.3% to others.

Vale’s 2012 R&D budget includes $918 million for its global mineral exploration program; $848 million for conceptual, prefeasibility and feasibility studies; and $591 million to be invested in new processes, technological innovation and adaptation. Exploration spending will include $282 million for iron ore, $202 million for nickel, $156 million for copper, $75 million for coal, and $50 million for potash and phosphate rock.

Vale’s investments in corporate social responsibility in 2012 will reach $1.647 billion, of which $1.354 billion will be invested in environmental protection and conservation and $293 million will be invested in social projects.

The Vale announcement made note of the fact that the mining industry worldwide faces a number of challenges to project execution, including environmental licensing, human capital constraints, cost pressures and longer lead times. Steps Vale has taken to deal with environmental licensing include stronger integration between environmental and project development teams, development of a “Best Practices Guide for Environmental Licensing and the Environment,” assembly of teams of specialists, closer interaction with environmental regulators, and creation of an executive committee to expedite internal decisions.

Actions to deal with longer lead times have included increased procurement intelligence, strengthening of long-term relationships with suppliers, anticipation of purchases, and diversification of the company’s suppliers base. “So far, these actions have dealt successfully with the pressures, and procurement lead times have not impacted the execution of the project pipeline,” the Vale announcement said.