Minas Gerais, Brazil
Iron Ore - 76.25 Mt (2011)
|Deposit Type||Banded Iron Formations (BIF)|
|Reserves & Resources||
Iron ore - 4.2 Billion tonnes @ 47.8% (proven & probable; Dec 31, 2011)
|Mining Method||Open pit|
|Processing Method||Run-of-mine ore beneficiation to sinter feed, lump and pellet feed|
|Mine Life||To 2040|
|Mining Equipment||Truck & shovel|
|Processing equipment||Crushers, classifiers, concentrators|
|Employees||2,100 in 2011|
Av. Graça Aranha, 26 - 12th floor
Ph: 55-21-38144477; 55-21-38148888
Last updated: August 20, 2012
The Brazilian Vale S.A. is the world’s biggest producer of iron ore and pellets.
Vale operates four systems in Brazil for producing and distributing iron ore: the Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Midwestern systems. The Northern and the Southeastern systems are fully integrated, consisting of mines, railroads, a maritime terminal and a port.
The Southern System consists of three mining sites - Minas Itabirito, Vargem Grande, Paraopebas - and two maritime terminals - Guiaba Island and Itaguai - located in the state of Rio de Janeiro. All Southern System iron ore mines are 100% owned by Vale S.A
Vale also operates 10 pellets plants in Brazil. The company owns 45.8% interest in MRS Logistica S.A. (MRS), which is the company in charge of transporting iron ore from the Southern System mines to the maritime terminals for international shipping.
Southern System's 2011 production totaled 76,253,000 tonnes iron ore which was a 2.1% increase over the previous year.
Vale’s development plans for its Southern System mining complex includes the construction of a new 10 million tonnes per year iron ore treatment plant which would start up in the first half of 2014.
The Southern System mines are located in the Iron Quadrangle region of the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Brazil is the largest country in South America. It hosts the world's largest Portuguese speaking population. The country has a rich developing economy ranked on the sixth place in 2011. Minas Gerais is the country's second most populous state. Its capital city is Belo Horizonte.
Iron ore is a mixture of hematite (an iron oxide mineral) and quartz. Together, hematite and quartz form a kind of layered rock called itabirite (a banded iron formation indicating a low-grade type of iron ore found in the region).
The ore reserves in the mining sites have high ratios of itabirite ore relative to hematite ore. Itabirite ore has iron grade of 35-60% and requires concentration to achieve shipping grade.
As of December 2011, total iron ore reserves for Southern System were estimated at 4,210.1 million metric tonnes grading 47.8% iron.
The Southern System iron ore mines are located in the Iron Quadrangle region of the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. They are conventional truck and shovel mining operations.
The Southern System has three major mining sites: Minas Itabirito (comprised
of four mines – Segredo, Joao Pereira, Sapecado,
Galinheiro); Vargem Grande (comprised of three mines – Tamandua, Capitao do Mato, Aboboras); and, Paraopeba (comprised of four mines – Jangada, Corrego do Feijao, Capao Xavier, Mar Azul).
As of December 2011, mine lives for the Southern System mines were listed as follow:
- Minas Itabiritos: Segredo (2035), Joao Pereira (2035), Sapecado (2037), Galinheiro (2036);
- Vargem Grande: Tamandua (2036), Capitao do Mato (2040), Aboboras (2033);
- Paraopeba: Jangada (2019), Corrego do Feijao (2015), Capao Xavier (2018), Mar Azul (2017).
Vale generally processes the run-of-mine by means of standard crushing, classification and concentration steps, producing sinter feed, lump ore and pellet feed in the beneficiation plants located at the mining sites. Minas Itabirito has two major beneficiation plants and three secondary beneficiation plants; Vargem Grande has one major beneficiation plant; and, Paraopeba has four beneficiation plants.
Vale beneficiates run-of-mine obtained from open pit mining operations into sinter feed, lump ore and pellet feed.
The 2011 production totaled 76,253,000 tonnes iron ore which was a 2.1% increase over the previous year.
- Minas Itabirito: 30.42 Mt iron ore;
- Vargem Grande: 21.42 Mt iron ore;
- Paraopebas: 24.4 Mt iron ore.
Segredo and Joao Pereira ore is processed at the Fabrica plant. Galinheiro and Sapecado ore is processed at the Pico plant. Tamandua and Capitao do Mato ores are processed at the Vargem Grande plant. Capao Xavier ore is processed at the Mutuca plant.
The Fabrica and Vargem Grande pellet plants, located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, are part of the Southern System. Vale sends some of the iron ore from the Fabrica mine to the Fabrica plant, and iron ore from the Pico mine to the Vargem Grande plant. It transport pellets from the Vargem Grande plant using MRS, and pellets from the Fabrica plant using both MRS and EFVM to two maritime terminals (Guiaba Island and Itaguai) located in the state of Rio de Janeiro
Vale’s development plans for its Southern System mining complex includes the construction of a new 10 million tonnes per year iron ore treatment plant. As of December 2011, construction was 46% complete with total realized expenditures of US$429 million. Planned start-up is for the first half of 2014.