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Vale still upbeat on China giving Valemax nod

Keywords: Tags  Vale, VLOC, Valemax vessels, iron ore, iron ore carrier, Fidel Bianco, Chinese ports

MUNICH — Brazilian miner Vale SA remains optimistic about the likelihood of China accepting its Valemax vessels despite setbacks, a company executive said June 10.

Vale is the world’s largest seaborne iron ore producer and has been actively promoting its plans for the use of very large ore carriers (VLOCs). However, it hasn’t received approval from the Chinese government to dock a fully loaded Valemax in China.

"It is an ongoing issue" and discussions are advancing, Fidel Blanco, Vale International’s senior managing director of iron ore sales for Europe and North America, said at the International Iron Ore Symposium in Munich, hosting by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

"Heavy investment has already been made at several (Chinese ports to enable them) to receive Valemaxes," he said.

There was no indication when a Valemax might be granted official entry into China, but Blanco hoped it would be soon.

Chinese ports that can accommodate the Valemax vessels, which can transport up to 400,000 tonnes of iron ore, include Dalian, Caofeidian, Qingdao’s Dongjiakou and Majishan.

The alternative for Vale at the moment is to ship iron ore into China using smaller vessels, after unloading iron ore from Valemax ships at Subic Bay in the Philippines.

As much as 45 percent of Vale’s iron ore production goes to China, compared with 16 percent to Europe, Blanco said.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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