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Vale has approved the $US1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) Serra Sul 120 project in Brazil.

This will increase the S11D mine plant capacity by 20 million tonnes a year to reach 120 million tonnes a year at site.

The project is aimed at maintaining Vale’s productive capacity in the face of eventual production or licensing restrictions in the Northern System.

The Northern System is comprised by the S11D and Carajás mines, and will see a total capacity of 260 million tonnes a year following the completion of the Serra Sul project.

Vale expects to commence the Serra Sul project in the first half of 2024. It will deliver new mining areas, implement new processing lines at the plant and duplicate the long-distance belt conveyor.

“With the Serra Sul 120 project’s anticipation and the delay in the execution of projects in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vale informs that it will revise and update, in due course, its investment guidance for 2021, currently at $US5 billion, and in the period between 2022-2024, with an average of $US4.5 billion,” Vale stated.

The iron ore major is expected to produce close to 200 million tonnes in the Northern System this year.