Brazil’s Vale SA on Saturday inaugurated its biggest mining project ever, lowering costs in a cut-throat market and reasserting its place as the world’s biggest iron ore producer.
The S11D mine in the Amazonian state of Para will add 75 million tonnes of production when it reaches peak output in four years, lifting Vale over Australia’s Rio Tinto, which had rivaled its output after years of stagnation.
Vale Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira said at the inaugural ceremony that the company had staked its future on the giant mining project even as iron ore prices plunged in recent years.
“Despite the stunning drop in revenue during execution of the project … we plowed on with S11D,” Ferreira said, noting that the price of iron ore had dropped from $191 per ton in 2011 to $37 per ton in January.
Vale posted its biggest loss ever last year due to falling ore prices and the huge cost of carrying out the project.
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