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Vale's iron ore output may reach 400 million mt in two to three years

Sao Paulo — Brazilian miner Vale sees the possibility of reaching the 400 million mt iron ore output levels within two to three years, Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani Pires said Friday.

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"Considering the 90 million mt that are currently standing, a third of it is related to Brucutu, another third is related to the dry operations of Alegria, Timbopeba and Vargem Grande, and the other third is related to wet mining," said Siani Pires during an earnings conference call.

"We expect Brucutu to return soon, and the other one-third related to the other dry operations I believe between six to 12 months. The complementary wet operations, however, from two to three years," Siani Pires said.

According to Siani Pires, Brucutu iron ore mining complex is operating at 10 million mt/year of its 30 million mt/year capacity.

Vale's estimate of iron ore sales volume between 307 million mt and 332 million mt for 2019 depends on Brucutu. "We are upgrading depending on Brucutu. If Brucutu produces, we will be closer to the middle of the track, and if does not produce, more towards the bottom of the track," Siani Pires said.

Vale posted Wednesday its combined first-quarter shipments and production of iron ore fines and pellets, down year on year by 19.7% and 10.2%, respectively, following the January rupture of the company's Brumadinho tailings dam.

Iron ore fines shipments reached 55.41 million mt in Q1, 22.2% below the year-ago quarter, according to company data in its production report. Production in turn, fell 11.1% to 72.87 million mt.

Pellets sales dropped 6.2% to 12.31 million mt in total shipments, while production dropped 4.7% to 12.17 million mt.

-- Guilherme Baida, guilherme.baida@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com