Spotlight: The capex plans of some major Brazilian miners

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, December 29, 2022
Spotlight: The capex plans of some major Brazilian miners

Some of Brazil's largest mining companies have announced their investment plans for 2023 and beyond.

Despite the expected drop in prices of key metals, including iron ore and copper, projected capex remains high.

BNamericas looks at the investment plans announced recently by Vale, Samarco and CSN Mineração.

Other mining companies with important operations in Brazil are expected to announce details of their capex for 2023 in the coming months, along with their fourth quarter and 2022 financial results.


Iron ore giant Vale is projecting capex of US$6bn next year, compared with US$5.5bn this year.

The company told a recent investors’ presentation that annual capex between 2024 and 2027 will fluctuate between US$6bn and US$6.5bn.

Vale expects that exploration spending will reach US$180mn in 2023 compared with US$170mn in 2022 as it looks to expand its reserves and diversify production. In 2024, 2025 and 2026 exploration spending is projected at US$250mn, US$300mn and US$350mn, respectively.


Iron ore pellet producer Samarco Mineração plans to invest 1.6bn reais (US$307mn) next year.

Of the total, 721mn reais will go to decommissioning of its tailings dams and the rest to reach full capacity of some 30Mt/y, which is expected for 2028. 

The company, a JV between Vale and BHP, expects to produce between 8Mt and 9Mt of iron ore pellets next year. In January-November this year, it produced 7.5Mt.

"In this second year of our [production] resumption, we achieved operational stability for the company, exceeding performance expectations, achieving more efficiency and competitive operating costs," said Samarco's president Rodrigo Vilela in a recent statement.

In one of the biggest mining disasters in Brazil’s history, Samarco's Fundão tailings dam in Minas Gerais state collapsed in 2015 and destroyed two villages, killing 19 people and causing widespread environmental damage. As a result, the company halted operations from late 2015 until December 2020.


Iron ore miner CSN Mineração, a subsidiary of Brazilian steelmaker CSN, announced planned capex of 13.8bn reais (US$2.6bn) for 2023-27.

"CSN as a whole is divided into five business units: steel, mining, cement, logistics and energy. Regarding the mining segment, our focus is on expansion," CSN chairman Benjamin Steinbruch said during a recent presentation for investors.

For 2023, the company said it expects "a balanced" performance for the iron ore segment due to the potential recovery in Chinese demand. Iron ore prices have come under pressure due to the zero-COVID policy in China, where the main clients of Brazilian commodities are based.

With the investment in mining the company looks to increase its own production and the purchase of iron ore from third parties from 34Mt this year to 68Mt in 2027.

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