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Onca Puma

Onca Puma

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Key Facts

Commodity Nickel

Para, Brazil
Nearest Landmark: OURILANDIA NORTE
Latitude: 6° 34' (South)
Longitude: 51° 5' (West)


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Owners Vale S.A.
Operator Vale S.A.

Nickel - 7 Mt (2011)

Deposit Type Lateritic/Residual
Reserves & Resources

829 Mt at 1.52% nickel (2011, Proven+Probable)

Mine Type Surface
Mining Method Open pit
Processing Method Pyrometallurgical method
Mine Life To 2044
Mining Equipment Truck & shovel
Processing equipment Crushers, driers, furnace kilns & electric furnaces (RKEF)
Contact Information

Rua Kaiapo, 09 - Setor Novo Horizonte
Ourilandia do Norte - PA,
Brazil 68.390-000

Phone:+ 55 61 325-1700
Fax:+ 55 61 325-1721


Last updated: July 10, 2012


Onca Puma is a nickel mine located in Ourilandia do Norte, in the Brazilian state of Para. It is Vale’s first ferro-nickel operation in Brazil and one of the largest in the world. The $2.3 billion operation included the construction of a new smelter.

The nickel mine was opened in 2011 and is ramping up production to the nameplate capacity of 55,000 tons of nickel contained in ferronickel per year. Onca Puma is a conventional truck and shovel surface mining operation. Processing involves a pyrometallurgical method.

During its first year of operations the mine produced 1,466,000 tonnes of ore grading 1.86% nickel. Mine life is estimated to extend to 2044.


The Onca Puma mine is located in the municipal district of Ourilândia do Norte, in the South-East of the state of Pará, Brazil.

Brazil is the largest country in South America and the world’s fifth largest country by both the geographical area and population. It is also the largest Portuguese speaking (lusophone) country in the world.

Para is the most populous state of northern Brazil. Its most famous icons are the Amazon River and the Amazon Forest.

Climate is tropical with no dry season.

Geology & Mineralization

It hosts two separate nickel laterite deposits, Onça and Puma, lying within 16 km of each other. The Puma deposit is a 23 km long ridge, the eastern portion of which lies within the Xikrin Indigenous Concession and is thus not being considered by Canico. The 5.7 km western portion of the deposit (Puma West) was the subject of a drilling program carried out in 2002. The Onça deposit is a 20 km long ridge which lies to the south west of Puma. Onça was the subject of a drilling program completed in 2003.

Nickel mineralization is found hosted by elongated ultrnafic ridge complexes within the Amazn Craton of the Brazilian Precambrian Shield, more specifically within the Itacaiunas Shear Belt which is undrlain by Archean-age gneisses and migmatites. The ultramafic complexes were localized along prominent structural zones which controlled their emplacement into the surrounding metamorphic basement rocks. The layered complexes consist of variably serpentinized dunite and peridotite, plus related pyroxenite, anorthosite, and gabbro. The general strikes trend east to west, and dip 40-45 degrees to the south.

Mining & Operation

Onca Puma is processing ore from the Onça and Puma open-cast mines, located seven and 16 kilometres from the smelter. They are conventional truck and shovel mining operations.


Onca Pumapyrometallurgical process uses a homogeneous combination of different ore classes in order to guarantee an optimized ratio of magnesium and silica contents.

Processing equipment include two rotary kiln electric-furnace (RKEF) smelting lines, including ore receiving, crushing, drying, calcining, smelting, refining and shotting.

After it has been crushed, the ore is submitted to a drying and de-dusting process. Afterwards, it is reduced and fused in furnace kilns and electric furnaces, with the final output being the ferronickel alloy.

Environment & Community

In May 2012, Brazil's federal public ministry in Para state demanded Vale to halt its operations at Onça Puma nickel mine. The authority claimed that Vale didn't meet obligations to two native tribes, the Xikrin and Kayapó peoples, which were supposed to be fully compensated for damages caused to their communities by the nickel mine. The South American country's public ministry says Vale also failed to mitigate the impact of the mine on the two communities.


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Onca Puma Suppliers

Onca Puma Suppliers

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Marcotte Mining Machinery Services Inc. Multicrete Systems Inc.

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DMC Mining Services
Titan Process Equipment Ltd.

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