TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The world’s two biggest mining companies, BHP Billiton and Vale, on Friday said they had given the green light to a $3-billion expansion at their jointly owned Samarco iron-ore project in Brazil.
The project will lift yearly pellet production by 8,3-million tons to 30,5-million tons, the company’s reported.
First output from the expansion will come in 2014.
“Samarco is a low cost supplier of high quality iron-ore pellets and over the last several years has been very successful in growing its resource base,” BHP Billiton iron-ore president Ian Ashby said in a statement.
The project includes a fourth pellet plant, a new concentrator, an expansion at the Germano iron-ore mine, and greater capacity in the 400-km slurry pipeline connecting the mine to the pellet plant near Ponta Ubu port.
“The third line of the slurry pipeline will add 20-million tons a year to the current capacity, which will not only provide transportation for the project but will leave room for further expansions,” Vale said in a news release.
Vale is the biggest iron-ore miner in the world and BHP Billiton holds the number-three position, with Australia’s Rio Tinto sitting in between.