The Brazilian iron-ore port of mining company Anglo American is being deepened to increase the volume of ore that can be loaded on to the Cape-size vessels calling there. The full 180 000 t volume that Cape-size ships offer cannot be taken up because of the lack of port depth. High-quality iron-ore from Anglo’s low-cost Minas-Rio set to leverage price premium West Pilbara proponents mindful of iron-ore market Australia’s Newcastle coal port to reopen after storm, but that is in the process of changing, with the present 17.7 m depth being extended down to 20.5 m so that the full 180 000 t of ore can be loaded.
During a visit on Wednesday by an international media contingent that included Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online, the amount of iron-ore loaded on to a China-bound ship had to be limited to 137 000 t – 43 000 t short of what Cape-size ships are able to carry. Anglo American’s Minas-Rio mine, in hilly south-eastern Brazil, supplies the high-quality, low-contaminant to the new state-of-the-art port. The ore’s 68%-iron content and favorable physical and chemical specifications are expected to leverage price premiums. The ore is transported to the port along the world’s longest pit-to-port slurry pipeline, which extends 529 km from the mine in Minas Gerais to the iron-ore terminal in Rio de Janeiro.
The impressively managed Minas-Rio exported 1.2-million tons of ore through its integrated operational infrastructure in the first quarter of this year and is now focused on ramping up production to between 11-million tons and 14-million tons this year and then to 26.5-million tons a year in 2016. As both the Minas-Rio mine and the port are scalable, exportation of far higher volumes is envisaged in the future, which would require a second pipeline to be built along the route of the present one as well as increased filtration capacity at the port, more berths and an extended pier. Within the port’s industrial complex, a dozen ceramic filtration units remove the water from the iron-ore and stockpile the ore for export. There is capacity to stockpile one-million tons of ore, which is loaded on to ships at a rate of 10 000 t an hour.
The port, which is half owned by Prumo Logistics, has five berths and 8 km of pier. Post ramp-up, port cash costs are expected to be $5/t exported, with opencast mining cash costs in the $10/t to $11/t range and pellet feed product $9/t. The low pit-to-port transport costs are $2/t. Filtration in the dozen filtration stations has a cash cost of $1/t. Total cash costs are from $33/t to $35/t and all-in costs, which take in stay-in-business capital expenditure, range from $35/t to $40.50/t. The integrated Minas-Rio is in the second quartile of the global iron-ore cost curve in free-on-board dry metric tons terms.
Information source: PORT SAO JOAO DA BARRA, Brazil (miningweekly.com)
BY: MARTIN CREAMER
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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