In its Q1 2023 sales and production report, Vale said its iron ore production increased 6% year-on-year (y/y) due to stronger performance at S11D and better weather conditions in Minas Gerais. Pellets production increased 20% y/y, driven by higher availability of pellet feed and lower maintenance activities.
Iron ore fines and pellets sales decreased 7% y/y due to loading restrictions in the Northern System during the rainy season and supply chain rebalancing after strong sales in 4Q22. Vale expects to offset this impact in the second half of the year keeping its annual sales plan unchanged.
Copper production increased 18% y/y, largely attributed to the improved operational performance of Sossego mine and the steady ramp-up of Salobo III. Copper sales were up 21% y/y, in line with higher production.
Nickel production decreased 10% y/y mainly due to the continued transitioning of Voisey’s Bay mine to underground operations and slightly longer scheduled maintenance at Matsusaka refinery compared to Q1 2022. Vale said its Sudbury mines performed well in the quarter, reaching ore production rates of 11,800 metric tons per day (mt/d) in March, the highest rate since 2017. Nickel sales were strong with up 3% y/y growth.