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May 8, 2014

Effluent spill suspends operations at Vale’s Goro nickel processing plant and mine

Brazilian multi-national metals and mining firm Vale has suspended operations at its Goro nickel processing plant and mine in New Caledonia, due to an effluent spill.

By admin-demo

Brazilian multi-national metals and mining firm Vale has suspended operations at its Goro nickel processing plant and mine in New Caledonia, due to an effluent spill.

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New Caledonia Southern Province president Cynthia Ligeard ordered an immediate halt to the operations at the site due to an effluent spill containing acid, according to a news report from Radio New Zealand International.

Vale was quoted by Mining Australia as saying that the spill was due to a misconfiguration of circuits transferring the solution between two of its retention ponds.

Vale did not confirm what the spill contained but said that the company was working to limit the damage caused, and conditions have returned to normal.

The company is now waiting for signal from the local government to resume operations.

In November 2013, Vale said it expected the Goro plant to produce 40,000t of nickel in 2014, and on 1 May of this year, Vale CEO Murilo Ferreira said that the nickel mine in New Caledonia was performing well and meeting expectations.

However, the shut down affected the estimates, as nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had already increased 6.1% to $19,786 per tonne, the highest since March 2012.

The increase in nickel prices was mainly due to the Indonesian ore export ban and sanctions against Russia that hit its top refined producer Norilsk Nickel.

Morgan Stanley analyst Joel Crane was quoted by Reuters as saying that, while Goro has a capacity of 60,000t, its production is much smaller due to technical difficulties.

"Physically, it doesn’t do a lot to the market, but sentiment-wise I am sure it will help. The perception of severe tightness is driving prices," Crane said.

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Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
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