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Vale Obtains Operation License for Salobo


Vale informs that it has obtained the operation license (LO) for the copper project Salobo, located in the Pará state, in Brazil, from the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA). Salobo is the second greenfield project developed by Vale in Brazil and has nominal capacity of 100,000 tons of copper in concentrate.

Salobo initiated its ramp-up with the two lines running since June and it involves an integrated operation of open pit mining, beneficiation, transportation and loading. Output will be transported by road from the mine to Vale’s existing rail terminal in Parauapebas (PA), from where it is carried through the Carajás railroad to the Ponta da Madeira (MA) maritime terminal.

Investments in Salobo total $ 2.507 billion. Simultaneously, Vale invests in its expansion - Salobo II - that will come on-stream in the first half of 2014 with expected capex of $ 1.707 billion, increasing production capacity to 200,000 tons per year of copper in concentrate. Salobo encompasses 1.112 billion tons of proven and probable reserves, with an average grade of 0.69% of copper and 0.43 grams of gold per ton.

The mine is contributing directly to the socioeconomic development of Marabá (PA) and Parauapebas (PA), municipalities that are in the project’s area of influence, by stimulating service provision companies to set up there, thereby generating more jobs and income in the region.
Production chain
Salobo is an open-pit mine. After it has been mined, the ore is transported by off-highway trucks to a crushing plant, where it is broken up into smaller pieces. In the second stage, the ore goes through a roller press, a piece of equipment formed of two rollers that rotate in opposite directions, breaking up the ore with rotation action and pressure. After this, the ore passes through mills and a series of cyclones until it reaches the final stage in the process in the flotation and filtering areas. The end result is copper concentrate of 36% to 40% grade.


Cutting-edge technology is used in the plant at Salobo, making operations more efficient and reducing energy and water consumption. The plant’s roller press is capable of resisting the great forces involved in processing an ore as resistant as copper. The plant will also enable approximately 98% of the water used in ore processing to be reused.

Socioeconomic development

During the implementation phase at Salobo, begun in 2007, Vale invested R$14.8 million in education, health and infrastructure in Marabá and Parauapebas.
In the health area, the company refurbished health facilities and purchased hospital equipment, among other actions. In the education field, a number of municipal schools, sports centers and multi-sport courts were built, modernized and expanded. In Marabá, a technical and educational cooperation program was also conducted together with the former Federal Technological Education Center of Pará (Cefet), now called the Federal Institute of Pará (IFPA). This program resulted in the implementation of vocational technical courses in mechanics, electrotechnical work and chemistry.

In the infrastructure area, Vale funded the paving of highways in the region. In Marabá, the company enabled the construction of the Mangueiras Highway, which links up the municipality’s urban centers. In the municipality of Parauapebas, a highway was built to connect Salobo Mine with the city of Parauapebas, and rural roads providing access to the villages of Sansăo and Paulo Fonteles are currently being paved.

During the project construction phase, Vale also entered into agreements with the National Jobs System (Sine), the National Industrial Education Services (Senai) and NGO Obra Kolping do Brasil. These initiatives have permitted free community access to courses as part of a Job Market Preparation Program.


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