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Vale (mining company)


Vale (mining company)

Vale S.A.
Sociedade Anônima
Traded as
Industry Metals and Mining
Founded 1942 (1942)
Headquarters Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Area served
Key people
Murilo Ferreira, (CEO)
Fabio Barbosa, (CFO)
Products Nickel, iron ore and iron ore pellets, manganese ore, ferroalloys, aluminum, fertilizers, copper and coal among others
Revenue US$ 37.5 billion (2014)[1]
US$ 48.6 million (2013)
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Vale Fertilizantes
Vale Limited

Vale S.A. (Portuguese pronunciation: ) is a Brazilian multinational diversified metals and mining corporation and one of the largest logistics operators in Brazil.[5] In addition to being the third-largest mining company in the world,[6][7] Vale is also the largest producer of iron ore,[8] pellets,[9] and second largest of nickel.[10] Vale also produces manganese, ferroalloys, copper, bauxite, potash, kaolin, alumina and aluminium. In the electric energy sector, the company participates in consortia and currently operates nine hydroelectric plants.[11]

Currently the company is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Madrid. Its ownership is documented in US SEC Form 20-A and includes three "golden shares" that belong to the Brazilian government and a significant (if not majority share) held by the national pension funds.[12] Its foreign activities are based in the Cayman Islands,[12] a noted offshore tax haven.[13]


  • History 1
    • Vale's privatization in 1997 1.1
    • Focus and diversification on the mining business 1.2
    • Steel and wood pulp businesses are sold 1.3
    • Vale consolidates the Brazilian iron ore industry 1.4
    • Diversification 1.5
      • Inco is acquired for $18.9 billion 1.5.1
    • Criticism 1.6
    • List of fatalities at Vale operations 1.7
    • Recent News 1.8
  • Vale today 2
    • Vale world offices 2.1
  • Mining business 3
  • Aluminium 4
  • Logistics 5
    • Railroads 5.1
    • Ports and container terminals 5.2
    • Ships 5.3
  • Energy 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • External links 9


Founded as Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (widely known as CVRD prior to 2007) (in English, "Freshwater River Valley Company") was founded in Itabira, Minas Gerais, as a public company by the Brazilian Federal Government on June 1, 1942. One year later the Vitória a Minas railroad was inaugurated.[14] CVRD, just seven years after its foundation, was already responsible for 80% of Brazilian iron ore exports.[14] In 1966, the company inaugurated in Espirito Santo the Port of Tubarão, which was to become the most important port for CVRD[14] and is still used to export iron ore mined from the Iron Quadrangle in Minas Gerais.

The Carajás Mine, on which Vale still has over 1.5 billion tonnes of iron ore in reserves,[15] started to have Vale as a majority stakeholder in 1970.[14] In 1974, Vale became the world's biggest exporter of iron ore, a title which it still holds today.[14] Then, in 1982, Vale began to diversify itself after it started to produce aluminium in Rio de Janeiro.[14] Throughout its history, CVRD’s activities, once restricted to the Southeast, were expanded to the Northeast, Central-West, and North of Brazil, diversifying its mineral product portfolio and consolidating logistics services.

Vale in 1985 started to explore the Carajás Mine in the state of Pará just after the Carajás railroad was opened, and in 1986 Ponta Madeira port terminal, which is still used to export iron ore mined at the Carajás Mines, was inaugurated in the state of Maranhão.[14] This railway is 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge.

Vale's privatization in 1997

Vale had its control transferred from the Brazilian Federal Government to the private sector (privatization) on May 6, 1997, when the Consórcio Brasil (Brazil Consortium), led by the National Steel Company - CSN acquired 41.73% of the Federal Government’s common stock for R$ 3,338 billion,[14] or $3.14 billion at that time.[16] The decision to privatize Vale caused much controversy, and some politicians opposed the privatization.[17] Vale remained a publicly traded company both in the Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo (BOVESPA) and NYSE (through American Depositary Receipt - ADR).

Focus and diversification on the mining business

After being privatized, Vale decided to focus exclusively on the mining business.[18] Vale's operations on the energy and logistics sectors are meant to primarily reduce the costs and the risks of the company's mining operations and not to generate revenues, so for example even though Vale has invested over $880 million on various energy projects,[19] the energy business generates not even 1% of Vale's total revenues.[20] The company's logistics operations contribute with around 7% of total revenues.

Vale's plan to focus on the mining business had three phases:

  • Sale of non strategic assets - mainly the steel and wood pulp businesses.
  • Consolidation through acquisition of the Brazilian iron ore industry. - completed with the purchase of MBR.
  • Diversification of its mining business in order to reduce Vale's dependence on the iron ore business - achieved with the acquisition of Inco.

Steel and wood pulp businesses are sold

In line with Vale's decision to focus exclusively on its mining business,[18] the company between 2000 and 2007 sold over $2.9 billion in businesses that operated on the steel and wood pulp sectors[21] and effectively withdrew itself from those industries.

Vale's wood pulp and paper businesses were all sold in 2001, sales which totaled $990.5 million. Bahia Sul was sold for $320 million, while Cenibra was bought away for $670.5 million.[18]

Vale's steel businesses took longer to be sold away, given the fact that Vale owned participation in many steel companies. The $1.91 billion divestment program began in 2000, when the company sold its stake at Açominas and Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional for $10 million and $249 million, respectively.[18] Then in 2004 Vale earned $579 million by selling its stake at CST.[22] In 2006 all Vale's stake at Gerdau and Siderar were sold for $67 million and $108 million respectively, also on that year Vale got $176 million by selling some of its shares of Usiminas. An additional $728 million was earned in 2007 when Vale sold yet more shares of Usiminas, Vale now owns just 3% of Usiminas.[20]

Vale consolidates the Brazilian iron ore industry

The consolidation process that Vale started in 2000 consumed over $4.9 billion[21] when it finished in 2007 Vale had under its control over 85% of Brazil's 300 million tonnes annual iron ore production.[23] Below is a table containing Vale's acquisitions prior to the purchase of Caemi, which was the most significant one of Vale's consolidation drive in Brazil.

Vale's acquisitions on the Brazilian iron ore industry[18]
Name Price Annual iron ore production at the time Reserves at the time Year Vale's ownership
Socoimex $55 million 7 million tonnes 106 million tonnes 2000 100%
MBR[18][24] $25 million 2001 5%
Samitri $710 million 17 million tonnes 709 million tonnes 2001 100%
Ferteco $523 million 11.4 million tonnes[25] 138 million tonnes[25] 2001 100%
Rio Verde $47 million 3.5 million tonnes[26] 37 million tonnes[27] 2006 100%

MBR's acquisition

On March 31, 2006, Vale, which already owned 60.2% of Caemi, acquired in a stock swap the remaining 39.8% of Caemi for $2.55 billion.[20] In all Vale spent over $3.2 billion acquiring 100% of Caemi. The acquisition of Caemi gave Vale 84.75% of MBR, Brazil's second largest iron ore producer, mining over 60 million tonnes.[26] Together with the 5% stake of MBR acquired in 2001, the acquisition of Caemi at the end of 2006 gave Vale an 89.8% ownership of MBR.[28]

Then in 2007 Vale purchased another 3.1% of MBR for $231 million from Mitsui and other Japanese investors. That meant that the company raised its stake at MBR to 92.9%, the remaining 7.1% stake at MBR was acquired in lease agreement by Vale for the next 30 years for a down payment of $60 million plus an annual fee of $48.1 million.[28] In this way, Vale now owns 100% of MBR for the next 30 years (period of the Lease Agreement).

The acquisition of MBR marked the end of an acquisition campaign that began in 2000, this acquisition campaign was the consequence of Vale's decision to consolidate the iron mining business in Brazil. After MBR's purchase Vale became the owner of all Brazilian iron ore exporters.[29]


Vale's diversification program sought to increase the participation of non-ferrous metals on total revenues reducing, in the process, Vale's dependence on the price of the iron ore for both net income and revenues. Business diversification has been achieved mainly with the acquisition of Inco and to a lesser extent with the acquisition of Caemi and managed to increase the participation of non-ferrous metals on total revenues from 7% in 2000 to around 34% in 2006.[20][30]

Vale branched into copper mining in 2001 when it bought for $48.5 million the Sossego Mine located in the Carajás complex.[25] The Sossego Mine, inaugurated in 2004, was the first Brazilian copper mine. The company expects to extract around 650 thousand tonnes of copper a year from that mine by 2010.[14]

The acquisition of Caemi in 2006 also helped Vale's diversification strategy by making the company a kaolin producer through former Caemi subsidiaries CADAM S.A. and PPSA. With that acquisition Vale now owns 61.48% and 85.57% of those subsidiaries respectively.[31][32]

In 2005, Vale bought Canico Resources, a Canadian nickel mining company, for $800 million.[33][34] This acquisition increased Vale's business diversifiction by bringing non-ferrous metals to its product line up.[35]

Also in accordance with its diversification strategy, Vale has entered the coal mining business. In 2007 the company purchased the Australian coal mining company AMCI Holdings for $656 million.[33][36] Vale has coal operations in Australia and China, as well as coal mining projects in the Tete province of Mozambique.

Inco is acquired for $18.9 billion

In October 2006, Vale acquired Canada's second largest mining company, Inco, for $18.9 billion,[15] paying Inco's shareholders $17.7 billion in cash [37] and absorbing Inco's debt of $1.2 billion.[15] This purchase was the largest acquisition ever made by a Brazilian company.

In order to assure the Canadian government's approval of the Inco acquisition, Vale agreed to keep Inco open as its nickel mining division, with its head office to remain in Canada and also agreed that the Inco division would assume responsibility for all Vale's nickel mining business.[7]

Inco, which became Vale Inco and now Vale Canada Limited, specialized in nickel mining. The acquisition of Inco was the most remarkable event of Vale's diversification strategy because it turned Vale into the world's second largest mining company[7] and the world's second largest nickel producer[38] behind Russia's MMC Norilsk Nickel.


Elected world’s worst company in January 2012 by the Public Eye People’s, an award that refers to human rights and environment, given since 2000 by the NGOs Greenpeace and Erklärung von Bern. Vale became the first Brazilian company to “win” the award, also known as the Oscar of shame. The choice was made by public vote, and Vale received 25 thousand votes.[39][40][41][42]

List of fatalities at Vale operations

Recent News

In July 2012, Vale sold its ferro-manganese plants in Europe to Glencore, now Glencore Xstrata, for around $160 million.[44]

Vale today

Vale, besides being present in 16 Brazilian states, is also present on other countries in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Vale has managed to establish itself as a global mining company through joint ventures and acquisitions abroad. As it can be seen on Vale's "Global Operations" map,[45] Vale has participation on mining operations in Angola, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, India, Mongolia, Peru, South Africa, and other countries.

Vale world offices

Vale is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro together with Log-in subsidiary that deals with logistic and it's also located in Rio de Janeiro, also with some valuable areas located in Belo Horizonte. Vale also has offices in places such as:

On November 2007, the company retired the name CVRD in favor of simplified company name of Vale, and rebranded.[46] The company has announced it will spend $50 million establishing its new logo and brand worldwide.

Vale has an investment budget of $11 billion for 2008, the largest annual investment program ever undertaken by Vale or by any mining company in the world. The 2008 budget is part of the firm’s strategic plan and underpins the 5 year, $59 billion investment program, and consequently involves a significant increase in capex for organic growth as compared with the period 2003-2007, estimated at $18 billion.

Mining business

Iron Ore: Vale is the world leader in the iron ore and pellets market. The company which produced around 90 million tonnes in the mid 90s[47][48] is now producing over 350 million tonnes of iron ore and pellets.[49] This means that Vale produces over 60% of all the iron in Brazil and around 15% of all the iron in the world.[23] Brazil has one of the largest iron ore reserves in the world, the mineral that is the most produced and consumed in the world. Vale's S11D project is the largest iron ore mining project in the world.[50]

Manganese and Alloys: In 1999, Vale incorporated the manganese and alloy business into its structure. Consolidated as the second largest manganese producer in the world, Vale annually produces close to 2.3 million tons of manganese ore and 500,000 tons of manganese alloys.

Nickel: Vale has become the world’s largest producer of nickel, with a production of 250,600 tons. Found in nature in association with iron and sulphur, nickel is a transition element that presents ferrous and non-ferrous metal properties such as resistance to corrosion, alloy formation, ductility and electro-coating settlement among others. By virtue of this characteristic to confer properties to the more noble metallic steels, nickel is demanded mainly by the metallurgical sector, and 63% of such demand is destined to the production of stainless steel.

Copper: Vale's copper production began in the first half of 2004, with the start-up of the Sossego Mine, whose average installed capacity is 140 thousand tons per year of copper in concentrate. The start-up of the copper cathode production plant with extraction by solvent and electrowinning - Project 118 - is estimated for the beginning of 2007. This project will have an installed capacity of 45 thousand tons/year of copper cathodes. Other projects such as Salobo (in feasibility studie) and others under intensive geological survey works in the Carajás region, in Chile and in Peru. In 2006, the consolidation of Vale Inco also increased the total sale of concentrated copper, which amounted to 169 thousand tons. Today, Vale is producing roughly 250 thousand tons of Copper every year. Vale has also entered into an agreement with African Rainbow Minerals to build a copper mine in Zambia.[51]

Vale's Carajás Iron Mine, Pará, 2009 NASA satellite photo

Coal: Vale is present in Venezuela, Australia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola with offices, ore search works and development of new businesses of coal. Currently it has minority stakes on Chinese coal producers, such as Longyu and Shandong Yankuang International Coking Co. Meanwhile, its major project, Moatize, in Mozambique, estimated to produce 14 million ton of metallurgic and energetic coal for 70 years is in economical feasibility study. With AMCI acquisition, Vale added to its coal portfolio the underground coal deposit in Belvedere, Queensland State, Australia, with estimated resources of 2,7 billion ton.

Potash:[52] Vale produces potash at The Taquari-Vassouras Operational Unit, an underground mine with a treatment plant on the surface. “Taquari-Vassouras” is the name of the ore deposit. This unit is the single manufacturer of potassium chloride (KCl) in activity in Brazil. Potassium Chloride is an important component for the manufacture of fertilizers, and it is obtained through the underground mine of sylvite and later on improved by the flotation process. Presently all production is for domestic market and assure 13% of the Brazilian demand for the product. Since 1992 production comprised 24.7 million tonnes of ROM with an average grade of 31.80 percent KCl, containing a total of 7.8 million tonnes of KCl.

Kaolin: a fine White aluminium silicate used as a coating agent, filler, extender and absorbent in the paper, ceramics and pharmaceutical industries. Despite being abundantly found in nature, its commercial reserves are restricted to Brazil, United Kingdom and the US. At 2006, Vale shipped 1.323 million tons, a volume 8.6% higher than that sold in 2005.


Vale is involved in all stages of aluminium production, from bauxite mining and alumina refining to primary aluminium production. However, the company's main strategy focuses on mining and alumina refining.

Vale has large, undeveloped bauxite reserves and is working toward expansions in alumina refining. For primary aluminium production the company works to develop projects in nations with lower energy costs.

Alumina is the main raw material for aluminium production and it is obtained from the refining of bauxite, an ore abundant in the state of Pará where the company has operations.



From 2000 to 2006 Vale invested more than $1.3 billion on the acquisition of over 361 locomotives and around 14,090 freight cars, those locomotives were primarily for iron ore transportation, but some were for regular cargo.[15][53][54][55][56][57] Some of the locomotives purchased were secondhand for refurbishment but at least 55 of the locomotives acquired were new ones of the model EMD SD70M, each one costing about $2 million.[58][59]

After those investments, Vale became the owner of over 800 locomotives and more than 35,000 freight cars[60] but the company informed that it will reduce its investment in rolling stock in the coming years.[53]

Vale owns the concession of three Brazilian railways: Vitória a Minas railroad (EFVM), Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica (FCA) and Carajás railroad (EFC).

Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica and Vitória a Minas railroads
  • Vitória a Minas railroad - Vale operates under a 30-year contract this 905 km, 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) railroad, which is used to transport iron from the Iron Quadrangle in Minas Gerais to the Port of Tubarão in the state of Espírito Santo . The concession expires in 2027. This railroad also carried 1.1 million passengers in 2006.
  • Carajás railroad - The concession of this 892 km, 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge railroad also expires in 2027, it links Carajás iron ore mines in the state of Pará to Ponta da Madeira port terminal in the state of Maranhão. Vale operates a train of 3.2 km and 340 cars on this railroad.
  • Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica[61] - Vale controls this railroad through the subsidiary FCA. As it is shown on the Vale's operations map above, this 7,000 km, 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) railroad extends through 6 brazilian states, this railroad originally belonged to the RFFSA. Vale's concession of this railroad expires in 2026.
  • Vale also has a stake in railway operators in Mozambique and Malawi.[62]

Ports and container terminals

  • Port of Tubarão - Vale owns and operates this port located in Vitória in the state of Espirito Santo.[63] It's the largest iron ore embarking port in the world.[64] Around 80 million metric tons of iron ore are shipped through this port,[49] this means that roughly 30% of Vale's iron ore production are shipped through the Tubarão Port.
  • Port of Sepetiba - Vale operates two maritime terminals in the Port of Sepetiba area located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, together they ship around 60 million metric tons of iron ore.
  • Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal (TRMT) - A state of the art maritime terminal in the state of Perak, operates distribution centre for iron ore caters for Asia Pacific.

Vale also operates port terminals in the state of Sergipe and two others in the state of Espirito Santo.


Vale has also entered the shipping business by ordering 35 Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) to transport iron ore between South America and Asia. These 362-metre (1,188 ft), 400,000 DWT ships are the longest and largest dry bulk carriers in the world. The first ship, Vale Brasil, was delivered in March 2011.[65]


Vale's energy business is focused at power production to fulfill the needs of its mining operations, as well as supplying the general Brazilian power grid. In 2005 it consumed 16.9 TWh of electrical power, accounting for 4.4% of Brazil's total consumption in that year.

Vale has participation in 8 hydroelectric plants, with 7 of these located in the state of Minas Gerais. Vale's investment in hydroelectric power plants totals $880 million.[66] The company also plans to build a 600 MW thermoeletric power plant in the state of Pará.[67]

Vale's Hydroeletric power plants[66][67]
Name Location Production Capacity Vale's Ownership Vale's Investment Start of Operations
Aimorés Minas Gerais 330 MW 51% $141 million July 2005
Candonga Minas Gerais 140 MW 50% $46 million September 2004
Capim Branco I Minas Gerais 240 MW 48.42% $90 million February 2006
Capim Branco II Minas Gerais 210 MW 48.42% $90 million May 2007
Estreito Tocantins 1,087 MW 30% $355 million August 2009
Funil Minas Gerais 180 MW 51% $49 million December 2002
Igarapava Minas Gerais 210 MW 38.15% $88.1 million January 1999
Porto Estrela Minas Gerais 112 MW 33.33%% $20 million September 2001

Vale also operates hydroeletric plants in Canada and two others in Indonesia. The company is building a third hydroeletric plant on the Larona River, Indonesia.[15]

Notes and references

  1. ^ [5]
  2. ^ [6]
  3. ^ [7]
  4. ^ [8]
  5. ^ BIC
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c "Brazilian miner buys Canada rival". BBC News. 2006-10-24. 
  8. ^ SEC Info - BHP Billiton Ltd - 6-K - For 5/31/00
  9. ^ CVRD Approves Increase in Pellet Production Capacity
  10. ^ / Columnists / European View - Minority investors caught in the Russian crossfire
  11. ^ SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/06
  12. ^ a b US SEC "Form 20-F" for COMPANHIA VALE DO RIO DOCE
  13. ^ Rajiv Biswas, International Tax Competition: A Developing Country Perspective (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002, ISBN 0-85092-688-2, 2002), p. 38
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vale: History
  15. ^ a b c d e SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/06
  16. ^ Ipeadata
  17. ^ Iron Ore in 1997
  18. ^ a b c d e f SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F/A - For 12/31/00
  19. ^ SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, et al. - 20-F - For 12/31/05
  20. ^ a b c d SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/06
  21. ^ a b Vale
  22. ^ SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/04
  23. ^ a b SINFERBASE - Sindicato Nacional da Indústria da Extração do Ferro e Metais Básicos
  24. ^ Microsoft Word - CAEMI_Rel Adm 2005_publicação.doc
  25. ^ a b c SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, et al. - 20-F - For 12/31/01
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ Folha Online - Dinheiro - Caemi compra Rio Verde Mineração por US$ 45 milhões - 06/01/2006
  28. ^ a b Vale
  29. ^ EUROPA - Rapid - Press Releases
  30. ^ SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/02
  31. ^ 
  32. ^ Microsoft Word - CAEMI FS2005_manag report.doc
  33. ^ a b Vale
  34. ^ Canico Resource Corp. | Vancouver, Canada | Company Profile, Research, News, Information, Contacts
  35. ^ CVRD Successfully Completes Take-Over Bid for Canico
  36. ^ "CVRD buys AMCI Australia for $A863m". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-02-27. 
  37. ^ CVRD Announces Proposed All-Cash Offer to Acquire Inco
  38. ^ "Brazil's CVRD bids $17B for Inco". CBC News. 2006-08-11. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ Chaudhuri, Saabira (2012-01-27). "Public Eye award singles out Brazilian mining company, Barclays". The Guardian (London). 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Vale mine death plea disappoints union" 19 Sept 2013
  44. ^ Vale sells ferromanganese units to Glencore for $160 mln, International:  
  45. ^
  46. ^ Folha Online - Dinheiro - Desafio da Vale é encontrar preço global para minério - 29/11/2007
  47. ^ Minério de Ferro
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce - 20-F - For 12/31/06
  50. ^ "Vale board approves S11D iron-ore project". Mining Journal. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  51. ^ " South Africa: Arm in Copper Joint Venture in Zambia". 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b Microsoft Word - 2601CapexI.doc
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ "CVRD-controlled Carajas Railway received 12 new SD70M locomotives from Electro-Motive Diesel in December to handle growing traffic". International Railway Journal. 2006. 
  59. ^ EMD: JT2CWR
  60. ^
  61. ^ Ferrovia Centro Atlântica
  62. ^ "Railway Gazette: Mining drives African rail plans". Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  63. ^ Porto e Negócios
  64. ^ News Article
  65. ^ Brazilian mining group’s giant ore carrier soon to enter service. Mining Weekly, 13th May 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  66. ^ a b SEC Info - Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, et al. - 20-F - For 12/31/05
  67. ^ a b A CVRD Anuncia a Construção de uma Térmica a Carvão - Adriano Pires: O Globo Online


External links

  • The company's home page in Portuguese
  • The company's home page in English
  • Rheebu Nuu - indigenous group attempting to halt CVRD's mining projects in the South Pacific
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