Anglo Restarts Minas Rio

Anglo American plc announced the resumption of operations at its Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil. The restart of the integrated iron ore operation follows an extensive and detailed technical inspection of the 529-kilometer (km) pipeline that carries the iron ore in slurry form from the mine to the port, the pre-emptive repair of certain sections of the pipeline, and receipt of the appropriate regulatory approvals. The inspection of the entire pipeline by specialist pipeline inspection devices (PIGs), and the analysis of the collected data by expert teams drawn from Brazil and internationally, confirmed the pipeline’s integrity.

Anglo American has taken a responsible approach and has pre-emptively replaced a 4-km stretch of pipeline where the two leaks of non-hazardous material had occurred, as well as a small number of individual sections of pipe where the PIGs detected minor anomalies below the normal threshold for intervention. Furthermore, Anglo American has shortened the intervals for future inspections by PIGs from five years to two years to ensure the long-term integrity of the pipeline, while also fitting a fiber-optic system of acoustic, temperature and vibration sensors along critical sections of the pipeline to monitor its performance.

“The protection of the natural environment surrounding local communities and the overall integrity of the pipeline have formed the focus of our work to restart Minas Rio and meet our obligations to our host communities, employees, customers and other stakeholders,” Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, said. “We congratulate our team on the ground that so quickly restored the waterways to full health and put in place an improved additional water supply to the nearby community.”

The extensive analysis confirmed the sound condition of the pipeline and the company has taken a number of preventative measures to provide additional reassurance for the long term.

“The majority of our employees have been deployed across our operations in Brazil during this year, including on the construction work required to secure our Step 3 operating license for Minas Rio, and safety and other refresher training has been under way since early November in preparation for the restart,” the company said. Anglo American expects the operation to ramp up to 1.2 million mt (wet basis) per month of iron ore in 2019.

In related news, Anglo American plc announced the receipt of regulatory approval relating to the Step 3 license area of the Minas Rio operation in Brazil. Access to the Step 3 area provides greater operational flexibility and access to higher grade iron ore to support the increase of production of the operation toward its full design capacity of 26.5 million mt per year.

As a result of this important regulatory approval, production guidance for 2019 is increased to 18 million-20 million mt (wet basis), from the previous guidance of 16 million-19 million mt (wet basis). Unit cost guidance for Minas Rio is lowered to $28-31 per mt (FOB, wet basis), from the previous guidance of $30-33 per mt.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 01 -