Vale SA broke the 100 million-tonne production milestone with its iron ore production rising 10.3% year over year to a record 104.9 Mt in the third quarter, while pellet production rose 8.7% to a record 13.9 Mt.
The mining major attributed higher production mainly to the successful ramp-up of the Tubarão I and II pellet plants and to the S11D mine helping improve the share of premium product sales to a record 79%. S11D hit a production rate of about 70% of its nominal capacity in the third quarter.
S11D is part of Vale's Northern System in Para, Brazil.
Iron ore sales reached 84.0 Mt, a 9.4% increase year over year. Total iron ore and pellet sales went up 9.2% to 98.2 Mt.
Vale also reaffirmed its iron ore production guidance of about 390 Mt in 2018 and about 400 Mt from 2019 onward.
On a yearly basis, nickel production fell 23.4% to 55,700 tonnes in the third quarter due to planned a maintenance shutdown at Sudbury. Nickel sales were down 19.6% to 57,300 tonnes.
Manganese ore production fell 15.3% to 482,000 tonnes, and cobalt production fell 31% to 1,028 tonnes.
Coal production fell 0.6% year on year to 3.2 Mt, while sales were up 1.5%. The company is reviewing coal mine plans and operations to ensure a sustainable ramp-up from 2019 onward.
Copper production was down 19.2% year over year at 94,500 tonnes due to the Sudbury maintenance shutdown and the strategic decision to decrease production at Voisey's Bay. Copper sales were down 16.2% to 92,400 tonnes.