Vale opens Brazil’s first ferronickel plant
May 23, 2011
Vale has opened its first nickel operation in Brazil. Onça Puma, in Ourilândia do Norte, southeast Pará. The plant, one of the largest ferronickel production plants in the world, has an annual production capacity of 220,000 tons of ferronickel, containing 53,000 tons of nickel.
Total estimated investment in Onça Puma is approximately US$2.84 billion. During the project’s implementation phase, 8,000 jobs were created, and an additional 1,500 have been generated for the operational phase.
“Onça Puma is a milestone, not only because it is Vale’s first nickel production plant in Brazil, but also as it provides an example of the building of sustainable relations with communities in the municipalities in the area covered by the project,” says the company’s director of South Atlantic Base Metal Operations, Ricardo Carvalho. Vale is the world’s second largest nickel producer, with operations in Canada, Indonesia and New Caledonia, as well as nickel refineries in the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan and China.
The Onça Puma project was acquired by Vale in November 2005, with the aim of using deposits of lateritic nickel, a type of ore found close to the ground surface in hot and humid regions. The nickel production plant will use ore from two areas in the Onça Mountain, which is close to the plant, and the Puma Mountain, around 16 km away.
Around 95% of Onça Puma’s output will be shipped abroad, to countries such as China, Japan, Germany, Finland, Italy and the United States.
Edited by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]
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