Vale Boosts Salobo Mine’s Copper Production Capacity

Vale Boosts Salobo Mine’s Copper Production Capacity

Expansion Project Progress

Vale, Brazil’s mining giant, has successfully increased the production capacity of its Salobo mine to 32 million tonnes per annum. This development is part of the first phase of the Salobo III expansion project, which began in 2019 with a budget of $1.1 billion. The project aims to further boost the mine’s capacity to 36 million tonnes annually by the end of 2024.

Funding and Agreement Details

The expansion has been supported by a streaming agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals. Under this deal, Salobo received $370 million for the completion of Salobo III’s first phase. The agreement also stipulates additional payments from Wheaton, contingent on Vale achieving certain production thresholds and maintaining specific copper grades.

Salobo Mine’s Significance

The Salobo mine, situated within the extensive Carajás region known for its rich iron oxide copper-gold deposits, is Brazil’s largest known copper deposit. With an estimated reserve of over 1 billion tonnes of copper, Salobo plays a vital role in Vale’s portfolio and Brazil’s mining sector.

Market Impact and Copper Demand

This expansion aligns with a broader industry trend where miners are actively seeking to increase copper reserves and production. With forecasts predicting a significant shortfall in copper supply against demand in the coming years, initiatives like the Salobo expansion are critical. Analysts anticipate a potential surge in copper prices due to this supply-demand imbalance, with expectations of a 20% price increase by 2027.

Vale’s Salobo expansion is a strategic move to capitalize on the growing global demand for copper, essential in various sectors including the burgeoning electric vehicle market.

More latest Copper News! icon

    Subscribe to the most timely news about the metals market

    Metals Wire's weekly digest for mining and processing industry professionals, investors, analysts, journalists.