Vale will produce a product that pollutes less in ES and hire 800 for works

Stack of green briquettes.  Product will be produced by Vale in Tubarão
Stack of green briquettes. The product will be produced by Vale in Tubarão. Credit: Disclosure / Voucher

Vale announced this Thursday (9) that it will start producing “green briquette”, a type of less polluting ore product. Two plants at the Tubarão Complex, in Vitória, will be adapted to manufacture the new product and, according to the mining company, 800 jobs will be created in this process in 2022. Another 120 jobs will be needed to operate the structures.

Vale’s plants 1 and 2 have been out of service since 2019. It is here that green briquettes will be manufactured, which are made of fine and superfine iron ore and a binding formula (a type of “glue”), capable of resisting temperature of the blast furnace of the steel mills without disintegrating.

While the production of pellets, the main product made at the Tubarão plants, uses heat to unite the ore fines (around 1300 ºC), the briquette goes through a “cold” process and, therefore, emits up to 80% less gases greenhouse effect.

“We have been looking for two decades for a way to agglomerate ore with low energy consumption. Nobody had been successful in achieving a formulation for the ore to be agglomerated and to deserve integrity throughout the process”, explains the manager of new ore products at Vale, Fernando Corrêa.

US$ 135 million will be invested in the conversion of the two plants, around R$ 700 million at the current dollar rate, so that it will be possible to produce 6 million tons of green briquette per year. In all, the company intends to produce up to 50 million tons of the material a year by 2035 at the mining company’s various plants around the world.

The briquette made in Tubarão will be destined for the European and Asian market. As it is a new product, it has no fixed price yet. The company believes, however, that it should be valued in the market because of its environmental appeal. Because it has fewer production steps, briquettes have a lower production cost than pellets.

Fernando Correa

Vale’s new ore products manager

“The expectation is that at the beginning of 2023 we will have briquettes to be placed on the market. All customers are interested, we are passing the stage of distrust. Because everyone suffers a lot from restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gases. Customers they are looking favorably because it is important for the maintenance of their business”

The steel mills will be able to reduce their dependence on the sintering process with the use of briquettes and thus reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 10%. Sintering takes place before steel production and also serves to fine agglomerate iron ore using high temperatures.

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