By Diana Kinch
RIO DE JANEIRO--Global mining company Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) has halted output on one of its two ferronickel lines at its Barro Alto plant in Brazil's Goias state for planned maintenance, the company's Brazil nickel unit chief executive said in an interview.
The stoppage, for maintenance to a calcinating furnace on the company's No. 1 line, will cut Anglo's production of ferronickel in half for the entire month of June, Walter De Simoni, CEO of Anglo's Brazil nickel unit, said during an interview on the sidelines of the Corporate Sustainability Forum.
Anglo is currently ramping up the Barro Alto project to its full production capacity of 36,000 metric tons a year of nickel contained in ferronickel, an alloy used in steelmaking. The plant, which started up last year, had reached 74% of full capacity before the 30-day stoppage began, Mr. De Simoni said. Full capacity will be reached at Barro Alto in first quarter 2013, he said.
"This is a programmed stoppage, quite normal during ramp-up periods, to make modifications," Mr. De Simoni said.
The Barro Alto plant will produce solely for the export market, Mr. De Simoni said. Anglo produces 10,000 tons a year of nickel contained in ferronickel for the Brazilian domestic market at its Codemin plant in Goias state, he said.
Anglo continues to prospect for nickel in Brazil at Jacare in Para state, northern Brazil, where it has estimated resources of 500 million tons of nickel ore, compared with around 120 million tons at Barro Alto, Mr. De Simoni said. The research is currently in the prefeasibility stage.
"Jacare could be bigger than Barro Alto. We're taking the project to the board at the end of the year, after which it could move into a feasibility study," he said. The nickel at Jacare could be suitable for either ferronickel or electrolytic nickel production, Mr. De Simoni said.
Write to Diana Kinch at email@example.com.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 18, 2012 17:49 ET (21:49 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.