Brazilian mining major Vale has reported significantly higher production at its Moatize coal operation during the second quarter of this year (2Q18), compared with the first quarter (1Q18). However, 2Q18 production was still lower than production for the same quarter last year (2Q17). The figures were published in the group’s report, ‘Vale’s Production and Sales in 2Q18’.
Total coal production at Moatize came to 2.9-million tons (Mt) in 2Q18. This was 18.1% up on 1Q18 but 5.5% down on 2Q17. This, the company explained, was because “the adverse conditions in the mine site in 1Q18 were only overcome during the first part of 2Q18, preventing a faster recovery in the quarter [and] the lower production [compared with] 2Q17, was mainly due to the difference in the coal seams fed to the plants”.
Moatize produces both metallurgical coal (its primary product) and thermal coal. Metallurgical coal output during 2Q18 was 1.6 Mt, which was an 11.3% increase on 1Q18, but a 23.9% drop on 2Q17. Thermal coal production, however, was up in terms of both 1Q18 and 2Q17. Totalling 1.3 Mt, thermal coal output in 2Q18 was 27.3% higher than in 1Q18 and, compared with 2Q17, 32.9% higher.
Regarding the first semester of this year (1H18), total coal production at Moatize came to 5 303 000 t, which was 3.1% lower than in the first half of last year (1H17). Metallurgical coal production during 1H18 totalled 2 959 000 t, a decline of 19.6%, compared with 1H17. Regarding thermal coal, 1H18 output totalled 2 344 000 t, which was 30.9% up on 1H17.
Production volumes are programmed to increase during the second half of this year. To this end, new trucks and excavators were delivered to the mine site during 2Q18 and are being assembled.
Total coal sales in 2Q18 came to just over 2.5 Mt, fractionally (0.5%) more than 1Q18’s, but 19.6% down on 2Q17, “as the lagged impact of higher production in 2Q18 will be felt in 3Q18”, stated Vale. Metallurgical sales in 2Q18 were slightly more than 1.4 Mt, a 1.7% decline compared with 1Q18, and a 31.6% drop in relation to 2Q17. Thermal coal sales were a little over 1.1 Mt, a 3.4% increase on 1Q18 and a 3.5% increase on 2Q17.
In semester terms, total coal sales in 1H18 were just over 5 Mt, a 12% fall, compared with 1H17. Metallurgical coal sales came to 2 839 000 t, down 21% in relation to 1H17. Thermal coal sales totalled 2 166 000 t, an increase of 3.4% over 1H17.
Moatize is located in the inland Tete province of Mozambique and its production is conveyed by railway to the coast for export. “Although there is a railway line (the Sena line) from Tete to the coastal city of Beira, the main route for coal from Moatize is along the newer Nacala Logistics Corridor (a mixture of new and refurbished railway lines), through Malawi to the Mozambique port city of Nacala.source:miningweekly