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Mah J.,Carleton University | Samson C.,Carleton University | McKinnon S.D.,Queen's University | Thibodeau D.,Vale
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences | Year: 2013

Three-dimensional (3D) images of rock faces contain key information for rock mass characterization. In an underground field trial, 3D laser imaging is used to measure surface roughness. A controlled validation study is performed comparing surface roughness measured manually and from the 3D data. At the same location as the manual measurements, joint orientation is first measured from the 3D point cloud data using principal component analysis. This process calculates the best fitting plane and its associated normal vector to the imaged joint surface. The normal vector being known, a 2D surface profile can be generated along the strike and dip. The profile length of the maximum asperity amplitude measured from the 3D data is used to estimate the Joint Roughness Coefficient (JRC). In addition, the 3D point cloud data contains a wealth of information typically not available. The surface roughness measurements can be made across the entire image to generate a surface roughness map. Joint characteristics such as surface roughness anisotropy can be evaluated efficiently. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Lightfoot P.C.,Vale | Keays R.R.,Monash University | Evans-Lamswood D.,Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Ltd | Wheeler R.,Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Ltd
Mineralium Deposita | Year: 2012

The Voisey's Bay deposit is hosted in a 1.34-Ga intrusion composed of troctolite, olivine gabbro, and ferrogabbro. The sulfide mineralization is associated with magmatic breccias that are enveloped by weakly mineralized olivine gabbros and troctolites, and also occurs as veins along structures in adjacent paragneiss. A dyke is connected to the base of the north wall of the Eastern Deeps Intrusion, and the entry point of this dyke into the chamber is the locus of the Eastern Deeps nickel sulfide deposit. A detailed exploration in the area between the Eastern Deeps and the Ovoid has shown that these intrusions and ore deposits are connected by a splayed dyke. The Eastern Deeps Deposit is surrounded by a halo of moderately to weakly mineralized variable-textured troctolite (VTT) that reaches a maximum thickness above the axis of the Eastern Deeps Deposit along the northern wall of the Eastern Deeps Intrusion. The massive sulfides and breccia sulfides are petrologically and chemically different when compared to the disseminated sulfides in the VTT, and there is a marked break in Ni tenor of sulfide between the two. Sulfides hosted in the dyke tend to have low metal tenors ([Ni] 100 = 2.5-3. 5%), sulfides in Eastern Deeps massive and breccia ores have intermediate Ni tenors ([Ni] 100 = 3.5-4%), and disseminated sulfides in overlying rocks have high Ni tenors ([Ni] 100 = 4-8%). Four principal processes control the compositions of the Voisey's Bay sulfides. Coarse-grained loop-textured ores consisting of pyrrhotite crystals separated by chalcopyrite and pentlandite exhibit a two orders of magnitude variation in the Pd/Ir ratio which is due to mineralogical variations where pentlandite is enriched in Pd and Ir is dispersed throughout the mineral assemblage. A decrease in Ir and Rh from the margin of the Ovoid toward cubanite-rich parts at the central part of the Ovoid is consistent with fractionation of the sulfide from the margins toward the center of the Ovoid. The Ovoid ores have higher Ni and Pd tenor than the Eastern Deeps massive sulfides; this is consistent with both a higher R factor and greater degree of silicate parental magma evolution in the Ovoid than the Eastern Deeps. The disseminated sulfides surrounding the Eastern Deeps deposit have some of the highest Ni and Pd tenors at Voisey's Bay, which are indicative of not only more primitive magmas but also higher R factors than the Ovoid or the Eastern Deeps. VTT and normal-textured troctolite of the Eastern Deeps that contain trace sulfide have 0.1-3 ppb Pt and 0.1-3 ppb Pd, whereas weakly to heavily mineralized variable troctolites in the same unit have one to two orders of magnitude higher abundances of Pt and Pd. Troctolites and olivine gabbros from other parts of the Voisey's Bay Intrusion and other Nain Plutonic Suite Intrusions, including the Kiglapait, Newark Bay, Barth Island, Mushua, and Nain Bay South Intrusion, also have low platinum group element abundances. Although it is possible that this is a signature of a widespread sulfide saturation event that pre-dated ore formation at Voisey's Bay, it is more likely that platinum group element (PGE) depletion is a product of the source melting process where low degrees of melting resulted in the retention of PGE in the mantle source. If so, this indicates that PGE depletion should be used with caution as an exploration tool in the Nain Plutonic Suite. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Darling J.R.,University of Bristol | Storey C.D.,University of Portsmouth | Hawkesworth C.J.,University of St. Andrews | Lightfoot P.C.,Vale
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2014

Laser-ablation (LA) multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) is ideally suited to in situ determination of isotope ratios in sulphide minerals. Using samples of magmatic sulphide ore from the Sudbury impact structure, we test LA-MC-ICPMS analytical protocols that aim to meet a range of analytical challenges in the analysis of Pb isotopes. These include: potential matrix sensitive isotopic fractionation; interferences on Pb isotopes; low melting points of many sulphide minerals; the availability of standards. Magmatic sulphides of wide ranging mineralogy (pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite, pyrite and sphalerite) were analysed for Pb isotopic composition, using the silicate glass NIST SRM 610 as an external standard to correct for instrumental massfractionation. Despite matrix sensitive melting and re-deposition around ablation pits, several lines of evidence indicate that all analyses are accurate, within typical analytical uncertainties of 0.003-2% (2σ), and that the defined approach is insensitive to compositional diversity in sample matrix: (a) laser ablation and dissolution based measurements of sulphide powders are in agreement; (b) analyses from each sample define isochron ages within uncertainty of the known crystallization age (1850 Ma); (c) the results of sulphide measurements by laser ablation are consistent with age-corrected feldspar analyses from the same samples. The results have important implications for ore formation in Sudbury. The Pb isotope data regressions are consistent with age corrected feldspar analyses from each respective sample, which together with time integrated Th/U ratios that match whole rock values (3.1, 4.0 and 6.1 for the Worthington, Copper Cliff and Parkin Offset Dykes, respectively) indicate chemical equilibrium between the silicate and sulphide systems during ore formation. The sulphides within each respective sample have indistinguishable model initial Pb isotope ratios (207Pb/204Pbm), irrespective of mineralogy or texture, indicating a common origin for ores within each of three different Offset Dykes. Furthermore, variations between Offset Dykes (e.g., 207Pb/204Pbm = 15.514 ± 0.012, 15.399 ± 0.009 and 15.275 ± 0.003) show that the ores have differing crustal sources on previously unrecognized scales. Mass balance considerations, particularly for MgO, Ni and Cu, indicate that the spatial distribution of mafic target rocks played a significant role in controlling the mineralization potential in different parts of the melt sheet. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Du Plessis C.A.,Vale | Slabbert W.,Hatch Ltd. | Hallberg K.B.,Bangor University | Johnson D.B.,Bangor University
Hydrometallurgy | Year: 2011

The Ferredox process is a biohydrometallurgical concept flow sheet targeting tropical limonitic laterites. The process components are designed to (a) facilitate simplified and low-intensity processing, (b) be amenable to modularization, (c) reduce technical process implementation risk, and (d) reduce capital costs for tropical limonite projects. The Ferredox process has been enabled by the recently demonstrated reductive dissolution of goethite, the most prominent nickel limonite host mineral, using elemental sulphur as a reductant at ambient conditions. The reductive dissolution process results in a ferrous iron-based pregnant leach solution, facilitating the recovery of nickel and cobalt prior to iron removal. Iron removal is achieved by ferrous iron oxidation resulting in iron precipitation as either jarosite or schwertmannite, without neutralizing agent addition. Soluble ferric iron, resulting from ferrous oxidation, is used in a reductive acid generation step for the oxidation of elemental sulphur. The resulting ferrous-based acid solution is redeployed to the reductive leaching step. A distinguishing feature, compared to other hydrometallurgical leaching options for limonite, is that all key process components occur at ambient pressure and temperature conditions with mild acid concentrations (pH 1.2-2). The Ferredox concept is described in the context of a nickel limonite ore but is intended as a generic concept for biohydrometallurgical processing of iron oxide ores containing base metals, including copper. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Deposits of Ni-Cu-Co-(PGE) sulfide often occur in association with small differentiated intrusions that reside within local transtensional spaces in strike-slip fault zones. These faults often develop in response to incipient rifting of the crust and the development of large igneous provinces due to far-field stresses generated by plume-induced continental drift. We review the geology of a number of large and small nickel sulfide deposits and the associated intrusions, and show that the geometry of the host intrusion and localization of the mineral zones can be classified into three main groups. Further, we show that the morphology of each is controlled by space created in response to deformation on structures. One group of intrusions has the plan shape of an asymmetric rhomboid with the long axis sub-parallel to a fault zone, and contacts which have often been structurally modified during and/or after emplacement of themagma. The typical cross section is a downward-closing cone shape with curved walls and often a dyke-like keel at the base. This morphology is found in the Ovoid and Discovery Hill Zones of the Voisey's Bay Deposit (Canada), the Jinchuan, Huangshan, Huangshandong, Hongqiling, Limahe, Qingquanshan, and Jingbulake (Qingbulake) Intrusions in China, and the Eagle and Eagle's Nest deposits in the USA and Canada, respectively. A second group of deposits is associated with conduits within dyke and sheet-like intrusions; these deposits are often associated with discontinuities in the dyke which were created in response to structural controls during emplacement. Examples include the Discovery Hill Deposit and the Reid Brook Zone of the Voisey's Bay Intrusion, where there are plunging domains of thicker dyke which control the mineralization inside the dyke, and thin discontinuous segments of the dyke which are associated with structurally controlled mineralization in the surrounding country rock gneisses. The Oktyabrysk, Taimyrsk, Komsomolsk, and Gluboky Deposits in the Noril'sk Region of Russia are localized at the base of thicker parts of the Kharaelakh Intrusionwhich appear to be a conduit that follows synformal features in the country rocks located west of the Noril'sk-Kharaelakh Fault. Other examples of dyke-like bodies with both variation inwidth and the development of discontinuities are the Copper Cliff and Worthington Offset Dykes which radiate away from the Sudbury Igneous Complex (Canada). The distribution of ore bodies in these Sudbury Offset Dykes is principally controlled by variations in the thickness of the dyke, interpreted to reflect the presence of conduits within the dyke. A third group ofmineralized intrusions locatedwithin structural corridors have the geometry of oblate tubes; examples include Kalatongke in China, Northeastern Talnakh and Noril'sk 1 in Russia, Babel-Nebo in Australia, and Nkomati in South Africa. Sometimes these oblate tube-like intrusions formin bridging structures between larger intrusions hosted in themore significant structures. Examples include the Tamarack Intrusion in Minnesota, USA, and the Current Lake Complex in Ontario, Canada, both ofwhich containmagmatic Ni-Cu sulfide mineralization. In all of these deposits, the intrusions appear to be open system magma pathways, and so the term "chonolith" can be applied to describe them as a group. All of these intrusions are characterized by a high ratio of sulfide/silicate; there are 1-3 orders ofmagnitude more sulfide in the intrusion than themagma contained in the intrusion is capable of dissolving. The formation of these deposits is considered to have taken place in open systemmagma conduits. It is possible that the metal tenor of the sulfideswere upgraded by equilibration of successive batches of silicate magma passing through the conduit, and equilibrating with a stationary pool of magmatic sulfide. At Voisey's Bay there appears little doubt that the sulfides were injected through a conduit dyke into higher level magma chambers. A similar model has been proposed for the formation of the deposits at Jinchuan and Noril'sk-Kharaelakh. Economically significant nickel sulfide deposits that tend to be high in Ni tenor, are often related to the late injection ofmagma that formdistinct parts of the intrusion, and the localization of mineralization tends to be related to changes in the geometry of the magma chamber. Strongly deformed and metamorphosed komatiite-associated deposits (e.g. Pechenga, Thompson, and the Yilgarn komatiite associations)appear to be the remains of open system magma conduits which are now represented by segmented and boudinaged ultramafic bodies as a result of more than 4 phases of post-emplacement deformation. LIP activity at craton margins has long been recognized as a key control on the genesis of magmatic sulfide deposits; we showthat the principal regional controls of strike-slip tectonics underpin the local geometry of the intrusions, and we provide an explanation for why so many of the global nickel sulfide ore deposits are associated with intrusions that share commonmorphologies and characteristics. Thismodel provides a framework for more detailed structural investigations of nickel sulfide deposits, and it is a predictive framework for mineral exploration. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Patent
Vale | Date: 2013-03-06

An ergonomic tool for atraumatic tooth extraction consists in an innovative tool that solves all problems related to tooth extraction which, by its own nature, is a traumatic and lengthy process that requires the prolonged application of strong physical forces and involves high risks of iatrogenic effects. An ingenious combination of two components - holding pliers that firmly keep the tooth to be extracted fixed between the active tips thereof before, during and after avulsion, and an extractor device which, by means of a lever and millimetric screw system, slowly applies strong forces for extracting the tooth without physical effort - makes the following contributions over the prior art: 1. The tool eliminates the numerous iatrogenic effects inherent to traditional tooth extraction, protecting the alveolar edges from injury, avoiding bleeding and any possibility of causing lockjaw in the patient; 2. It has near-zero risk of iatrogenic effects, such as crown breakage and the consequences thereof, as well as temporo-mandibular accidents; 3. It reduces the duration of tooth extraction procedures from about 40 to 4 minutes and the duration of cicatrisation to about 3 days; 4. It does not require physical effort of the dental surgeon; 5. It is the only tool that allows delicate interventions that are practically impossible using a forceps, making it possible to extract teeth with the cementoblast intact, for treatment outside the body, and to re-implant the teeth with absolute safety and very high rates of success; 6. It makes it possible to lift the teeth a few millimetres, with absolute safety, for orthodontic procedures of great value for health and aesthetic appearance; 7. Due to the small size of the tool, it makes tooth extraction possible even when the maximum mouth opening of the patient is reduced, as a result of lockjam, angular cheilitis or small size of the mouth, for example in children, requiring only 23 mm between the incisal edges of the maxillary central incisors and the incisal edges of the mandibular central incisors; 8. It has a the extraction of the third and fourth molars; 9. It does not require the use of electric or pneumatic drills for drilling crowns, shortening surgery time and reducing patient discomfort; 10. It reduces the cost of dental treatment, increasing the number of people that can benefit from dental care; 11. It has a low cost, since a single tool carries out all tooth extraction or prosthesis and pin withdrawal operations, unlike the present tooling, which requires a collection of more than ten tools; 12. It can be used in scientific veterinary research and medecine, for extracting teeth of small, medium and large size animals that are difficult to handle; 13. It is very easy to use, dispensing with long training periods; 14. Due to the system of universal adjustable pliers with active tips, it allows tooth extraction without support on any of the proximal teeth.


News Article | October 23, 2014
Site: www.canberratimes.com.au

Vale, the world's biggest iron-ore and nickel miner, reported a net loss in the latest quarter as it struggled with a weak local currency and falling ore prices. The company produced a record amount of iron ore during the period and reduced cash costs to $US12.70 a tonne, which it says is the lowest in the industry. Despite rising production though, Thursday's net loss is Vale's fourth in five quarters. The company is struggling to absorb the expense of building a giant new mine in Brazil's Amazon region as its cash take drops. On a net basis, Vale had a loss of $US2.12 billion on currency and derivative losses. Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell 15 per cent from a year ago $US1.88 billion, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said Thursday in a statement. That compared with the $US1.86 billion average of 11 dollar-based estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Vale is producing more higher-quality iron ore and halting some of its most expensive output to navigate an oversupplied market that sent prices of the steel-making ingredient down more than 70 per cent from a 2011 peak - all as China's slowdown erodes margins at its base metal business. The company is betting an expansion of its Carajas complex in northern Brazil, its biggest project ever, will trim costs further, allowing the producer to boost market share and offset the effect of lower prices. The venture is 75 per cent complete, Vale said Thursday. The project, known as S11D, will add 90 million tonnes of low cost, high-grade iron ore to Vale's annual production. With a $US17 billion price tag, it is seen as vital for securing Vale's future but is weighing on results at present. With S11D, Vale's head of iron ore Peter Poppinga said production costs would continue to fall. "It is easy to imagine Vale having average production costs of $US10 per tonne," he said. Vale posted "a reasonably good underlying result, within the context of a weak pricing environment", David Gagliano, a New York-based analyst at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note Thursday. "At a project level, the company appears to be making some headway." Shares gained 1.8 per cent to 15.01 reais at 11.27am in Sao Paulo on Thursday, trimming a decline in the past 12 months to 35 per cent. The Brazilian miner sold its iron-ore fines at an average $US46.48 a wet metric ton, down from $US68.02 a year earlier. That exceeded the $US45.50 average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup's Ivan Szpakowski told The Australian Financial Review on Thursday that China's slowdown, and the resulting shake-out of high-cost miners and steel producers, would drive the price of iron ore down to $US50 a tonne by the end of this year and $US40 or lower by the end of the March quarter in 2016. Sales prices declined in line with lower global steel output, with China's steel consumption "subdued" by real-estate weakness, the Brazilian company said in the statement. The outlook for Chinese property sales is improving along with credit conditions, setting the stage for global steel recovery in 2016, it said. Selling prices for nickel slumped 40 per cent on the year, leading to a 75 per cent drop in the ebitda of Vale's base-metals in the quarter. While Vale faced a "very severe decline" in nickel and copper prices on China's deceleration and a "very volatile" exchange rate in Brazil that boosted debt costs in local currency, its costs of production continue to decline, chief financial officer Luciano Siani said. "The company itself is becoming ever more competitive, with the lowest cash cost in the industry," he said in a video posted on the company's website. The more than 20 per cent decline of the Brazilian real in the third quarter prompted a foreign exchange and swaps losses of $US6.22 billion while the company also recorded a $US530 million loss on the hedge of the bunker oil used to ship the ore. The exchange rate move increased the local-currency value of Vale's foreign-currency debts and "our income statement is recording that increase as a loss," Siani said. "That answers why we had such a big loss in the quarter." Despite the currency-related, non-cash loss, Siani said Vale's total debt in dollars actually decreased over the period. Citi analysts called the $US2.3 billion debt reduction a bright spot for the quarter. At the end of the quarter Vale had net debt of $US24.2 billion. "Lower iron ore and base metals prices should weigh on the company's earnings in 2016 and 2017, ultimately jeopardising cash flow generation and stretching the balance sheet," Credit Suisse Group analyst Ivano Westin said in a research note Tuesday. On Monday, Vale posted record iron-ore output for the third quarter thanks to higher production at Carajas, while it shuts down less efficient operations elsewhere in Brazil. Production of nickel and copper missed analysts' estimates amid shutdowns in Canada. On Wednesday, BHP reported a better than expected start to its 2016 financial year, with its iron ore, copper and petroleum divisions outperforming most analysts expectations.


News Article | October 23, 2014
Site: www.smh.com.au

Vale, the world's biggest iron-ore and nickel miner, reported a net loss in the latest quarter as it struggled with a weak local currency and falling ore prices. The company produced a record amount of iron ore during the period and reduced cash costs to $US12.70 a tonne, which it says is the lowest in the industry. Despite rising production though, Thursday's net loss is Vale's fourth in five quarters. The company is struggling to absorb the expense of building a giant new mine in Brazil's Amazon region as its cash take drops. On a net basis, Vale had a loss of $US2.12 billion on currency and derivative losses. Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell 15 per cent from a year ago $US1.88 billion, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said Thursday in a statement. That compared with the $US1.86 billion average of 11 dollar-based estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Vale is producing more higher-quality iron ore and halting some of its most expensive output to navigate an oversupplied market that sent prices of the steel-making ingredient down more than 70 per cent from a 2011 peak - all as China's slowdown erodes margins at its base metal business. The company is betting an expansion of its Carajas complex in northern Brazil, its biggest project ever, will trim costs further, allowing the producer to boost market share and offset the effect of lower prices. The venture is 75 per cent complete, Vale said Thursday. The project, known as S11D, will add 90 million tonnes of low cost, high-grade iron ore to Vale's annual production. With a $US17 billion price tag, it is seen as vital for securing Vale's future but is weighing on results at present. With S11D, Vale's head of iron ore Peter Poppinga said production costs would continue to fall. "It is easy to imagine Vale having average production costs of $US10 per tonne," he said. Vale posted "a reasonably good underlying result, within the context of a weak pricing environment", David Gagliano, a New York-based analyst at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note Thursday. "At a project level, the company appears to be making some headway." Shares gained 1.8 per cent to 15.01 reais at 11.27am in Sao Paulo on Thursday, trimming a decline in the past 12 months to 35 per cent. The Brazilian miner sold its iron-ore fines at an average $US46.48 a wet metric ton, down from $US68.02 a year earlier. That exceeded the $US45.50 average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup's Ivan Szpakowski told The Australian Financial Review on Thursday that China's slowdown, and the resulting shake-out of high-cost miners and steel producers, would drive the price of iron ore down to $US50 a tonne by the end of this year and $US40 or lower by the end of the March quarter in 2016. Sales prices declined in line with lower global steel output, with China's steel consumption "subdued" by real-estate weakness, the Brazilian company said in the statement. The outlook for Chinese property sales is improving along with credit conditions, setting the stage for global steel recovery in 2016, it said. Selling prices for nickel slumped 40 per cent on the year, leading to a 75 per cent drop in the ebitda of Vale's base-metals in the quarter. While Vale faced a "very severe decline" in nickel and copper prices on China's deceleration and a "very volatile" exchange rate in Brazil that boosted debt costs in local currency, its costs of production continue to decline, chief financial officer Luciano Siani said. "The company itself is becoming ever more competitive, with the lowest cash cost in the industry," he said in a video posted on the company's website. The more than 20 per cent decline of the Brazilian real in the third quarter prompted a foreign exchange and swaps losses of $US6.22 billion while the company also recorded a $US530 million loss on the hedge of the bunker oil used to ship the ore. The exchange rate move increased the local-currency value of Vale's foreign-currency debts and "our income statement is recording that increase as a loss," Siani said. "That answers why we had such a big loss in the quarter." Despite the currency-related, non-cash loss, Siani said Vale's total debt in dollars actually decreased over the period. Citi analysts called the $US2.3 billion debt reduction a bright spot for the quarter. At the end of the quarter Vale had net debt of $US24.2 billion. "Lower iron ore and base metals prices should weigh on the company's earnings in 2016 and 2017, ultimately jeopardising cash flow generation and stretching the balance sheet," Credit Suisse Group analyst Ivano Westin said in a research note Tuesday. On Monday, Vale posted record iron-ore output for the third quarter thanks to higher production at Carajas, while it shuts down less efficient operations elsewhere in Brazil. Production of nickel and copper missed analysts' estimates amid shutdowns in Canada. On Wednesday, BHP reported a better than expected start to its 2016 financial year, with its iron ore, copper and petroleum divisions outperforming most analysts expectations.


News Article | May 15, 2015
Site: www.reuters.com

RIO DE JANEIRO May 15 Brazilian miner Vale said on Friday it secured a $3 billion revolving credit facility for a term of five years. The credit line, which was signed with a group of 24 global banks, replaces a previous facility for the same amount secured in 2011. Vale said in the statement it also has another credit facility for an additional $2 billion. The company has seen its free cash flow eroded by the falling price of iron ore.


News Article | November 14, 2014
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Vale SA’s longest-serving executive director, ferrous business head Jose Carlos Martins, is leaving the world’s top iron-ore producer after prices for the steelmaking material fell to five-year lows. Martins, 64, left the company to pursue new challenges and is being replaced by base-metals head Peter Poppinga, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement yesterday. The changes take effect immediately. “Vale believes Peter’s track record of productivity increases and achievements in cost reductions in the base metals business will serve him well in making the iron-ore business even more competitive,” the company said of Poppinga’s appointment. Shares of Vale sank to the lowest since 2006 earlier this week after Citigroup Inc. recommended selling the stock on the deteriorating outlook for iron-ore prices. The commodity lost 44 percent this year and trades close to five-year lows as surging supplies from Vale in Brazil and BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group in Australia created a glut just as China’s economy slowed. Jennifer Maki, currently chief financial and administrative officer for base metals, will take over as executive director of the unit, replacing Poppinga, Vale also said in the statement. Poppinga, who started at Vale’s iron-ore commercial business in 1999, held positions in Toronto, Switzerland and Australia, among other locations, before being appointed head of the nickel and copper businesses in 2011, with the arrival of Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira. During his tenure, Vale’s base metals unit boosted its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to almost $3 billion in 2014 from $600 million in 2012 “due largely to increased productivity and the removal of $1.4 billion in costs,” the company said. Martins joined Vale in 2004 and was appointed executive director of Ferrous Metals in March of the following year. Well versed in Chinese culture and economy, he used to travel four or five times a year to the Asian country, the destination for half of Vale’s iron-ore shipments, he said in an interview with Bloomberg News last year. On July 31, Martins said that iron ore was poised for a rebound in the second half on lower supply growth and the closure of higher cost mines, with prices of $110 per ton still being “a good reference” for the steel raw material. Prices dropped an additional 21 percent since then, hitting $75.38 per ton on Nov. 6, the lowest since September 2009. Martins said Oct. 30 that the market variables “did not behave according to what was expected” and that it would take longer for the price to recover the “balance” of around $100 per ton. “Things are below that level, so, what is left to do now is to be patient and wait a while,” he told reporters on a conference call then. “My crystal ball is a little cloudy now.” Vale produced a record 236.2 million metric tons of iron ore in the first nine months of the year, 8.1 percent more than in 2014. The company’s managemenet is scheduled to present Vale’s annual plan for 2015 in New York on Dec. 2.

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