Mining

Iron Ore and Pellets

Iron Ore
and Pellets

Vale is the world’s biggest producer of iron ore and pellets, raw materials essential to the manufacture of steel.

Iron ore is found in nature in the form of rocks, mixed with other elements. By means of various industrial processes incorporating cutting-edge technology, iron ore is processed and then sold to steel companies.

The iron ore produced by Vale can be found in houses, cars and household appliances.

We are investing in technological innovations and developing initiatives to prevent and minimize the environmental impacts that mining causes. Our aim is to set the benchmark in the sustainable management and use of natural resources.

What are pellets?

Pellets are small balls of iron ore used in the production of steel. They are made with technology that uses the powder that is generated during the ore extraction process, once considered waste.

What are they used for?

The pellets are used in the production of steel which is used in the construction of bridges, cars, planes, bicycles, household appliances and much more.

But, before this, the ore goes through a blast furnace that only works when air can circulate freely. For this reason, the material needs to be big enough so that there are spaces between each piece.

On top of this, the ore needs to be strong enough not to be crushed thereby obstructing the blast furnace. Thus, the production of pellets is fundamental to the steel production process.

Where?

Our mines are concentrated in Brazil, where we also operate pelletizing plants. In addition, we have a pelletizing plant in Oman and stakes in joint ventures in China that produce pellets (small lumps of iron particles).

minas

Carajás

Carajás is Vale´s biggest operation, located in the Amazon
region in northern Brazil. Carajás’s iron ore is considered the highest quality in the world.

carajás

 

How?

Transforming iron ore into usable material is a long process.
Learn the steps of iron ore production iron with our
interactive infographic.

Clique Aqui ilustração

 

Technology and Sustainability

Less water

Less water
água

Reduce

At Sossego copper mine in Canaã dos Carajás, Pará, a series of actions aimed at increasing water recirculation resulted in a 99% reuse rate in 2012. This has reduced the amount of water pumped from the Parauapebas River by around 900,000 m3 per year, enough to supply a town of 25,000 people for six months.

aproveitamento

More reuse

Vale’s ore reuse system has so far made it possible to reprocess 5.2 million metric tonnes of ultrafine ore deposited in tailings ponds. Without this technology, this ore would have been wasted.


 
 

Efficient transportation

We operate 10,000 kilometres of railroad tracks and we use the world’s biggest ore carriers. Valemax vessels are capable of carrying 400,000 metric tonnes each – 2.3 times more than traditional Capesize ships – and they emit 35% less CO2 per ton of ore transported.

​​​​​