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Vale expects Moatize, Mozambique, coal divestment by year-end: CEO


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Brazilian diversified miner Vale may find a buyer for its Moatize coal operation in Mozambique by the end of this year, in a continuing move to achieve a leaner portfolio, Vale CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo said Oct. 7.

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"We have had two visits on site already and there are more people coming to visit," Bartolomeo said in an interview conducted virtually during the Financial Times Mining Summit.

Vale divested its manganese ferroalloy assets in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, last week, following its divestment of its Vale New Caledonia (Goro) nickel and cobalt project earlier this year, the CEO said. "Moatize is the next one," he said.

The company later also plans to divest its stakes in steelmakers California Steel Industries (CSI) and Companhia Siderurgica do Pecem (CSP) in northeast Brazil, according to information presented by Bartolomeo at the event.

Vale has divested a string of coal, fertilizer, potash, steel and other non-core assets since 2015 and is working on a potential "reshaping" of its base metals business, which includes copper, nickel and cobalt, according to the executive. "We need to grow copper in Brazil," he said.

The major iron ore miner expects to sell its Moatize operation to a "responsible operator," said Bartolomeo. Current high prices for both thermal and metallurgical coal should help the sale, he said.

Seaborne coking coal prices are currently at all-time highs on global supply tightness. S&P Global Platts assessed Premium Low Vol, or PLV, unchanged on the day at $396/mt FOB Australia, and CFR China stable day on day at $604/mt Oct. 7.

Vale earlier this year finalized a revamp of Moatize, which is currently producing at a rate of 15 million mt/year and is expected to receive equipment to upgrade to 18 million mt/year by the end of the year. The mine produces both metallurgical and thermal coal.

Moatize, which Vale brought on stream in 2011, has a total capacity of 22 million mt/year of coal.