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Vale outlines 2014 strategy for base metals

Dec 03, 2013 | 05:00 PM |

Tags  Vale, Peter Poppinga, Glencore Xstrata, nickel, base metals, Long Harbour plant, Totten Mine, Thompson Mine Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — Vale SA has touted a policy of "value over volume" as the mining company looks to idle unprofitable projects in the wake of $1.5 billion in capital spending cuts for 2014.

Peter Poppinga, Vale’s executive director of base metals and information technology, said that while capital expenditure cuts would affect base metal operations to the tune of $800 million, a combination of cost reductions and operational ramp-ups would result in "higher value" for the Rio de Janeiro-based company.

Speaking at the company’s 11th annual Vale Day at the New York Stock Exchange Dec. 2, Poppinga said its North American plans include "idling some non-profitable mines in the short term and (medium) term," while optimizing projects in northern Ontario’s Sudbury Basin and surrounding areas.

Plans include a previously announced closure of one of two furnaces at Vale’s Copper Cliff smelter in Sudbury, ramping up the Totten nickel-copper mine in Sudbury and completing the Long Harbour processing plant in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The company is also looking into expansions at the Thompson Mine in Manitoba, where it plans to close a refinery and smelter by 2015.

Vale continues to analyze potential synergies at its Sudbury operations after confirming it was looking into an "unincorporated joint venture" with Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata Plc (, Nov. 7).

Discussions are "going very well," Poppinga said, citing confidentiality agreements with outside parties.

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