Brazilian mining major Vale’s Moatize coal operation in the Tete province increased its output during the third quarter (3Q) of this year, in comparison with the second quarter (2Q). This was revealed by the group in its 3Q14 Production Report.
During the third quarter, Moatize produced a total of 1.296-million tons of coal, in comparison with 1.171-million tons in the second quarter. Combined with improved performances at Vale’s Carborough Downs and Isaac Plains operations in Australia, this pushed the group’s total coal production to 2.3-million tons, a 5.9% increase over the second quarter.
Regarding Moatize’s output, 828 000 t was metallurgical or coking coal, representing a 16.1% increase over the 2Q14 number of 714 000 t and a 17.3% rise over the 3Q13 amount of 706 000 t. The mine’s total production of metallurgical coal during the first nine months of this year came to 2.137-million tons, 8.4% higher than the figure of 1.972-million tons for the same period last year.
Moatize’s thermal coal production during 3Q14 amounted to 468 000 t, a 2.4% increase over that for 2Q14, which came to 457 000 t. It was also 1.2% up on the 462 000 t produced during 3Q13. Total thermal coal production for the first nine months of 2014 was 1.338-million tons, a 14.8% increase over the output of 1.166-million tons for the same period in 2013.
“As anticipated, the coal mix improved during 3Q14 with the prioritisation of the opening of new mine faces,” states the report. “The ramp-up of the first phase of the Moatize coal project is being currently restricted by the existing limitations of the logistics infrastructure – railway and port – which do not allow for total utilisation of the mine’s nominal capacity of 11-Mtpy [million tons per year].”
The group expects the opening of the new Nacala logistics corridor, due by the end of this year, to “gradually eliminate” these restrictions. The Nacala corridor comprises a 912 km railway from Tete, through Malawi, to the Mozambican port of Nacala, and a coal export terminal at the harbour. This line (most of which already exists but is being significantly upgraded) will have a nominal annual capacity of 18-million tons. The 250 t main structure for the coal wagon unloading tippler (which rotates wagons upside down to empty them) for the Nacala terminal was delivered to the port in mid-August. Once complete, the tippler will have a capacity of about 750 t.
Vale’s other operation (as distinct from exploration projects) in Africa is its joint venture (JV) with South African group African Rainbow Minerals in Zambia, Lubambe Copper. This JV was established in 2010 and owns 80% of Lubambe, the remaining 20% being held by State-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings. (Lubambe was originally known as Konkola North.)
“Lubambe, our Zambian JV, is ramping up and delivering 6 500 t of copper in concentrates on a 100% basis (attributable production of 2 600 t),” reports Vale. “Lubambe has a nominal capacity of 45 000 t per year.” However, 3Q14 production was down 5.8% in comparison to 2Q14, when Vale’s share of the output came to 2 800 t.(Source: Vale.com)