Brazil

Onca Puma Mine

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Overview

Mine TypeOpen Pit
StatusTemporary Suspension
Commodities
  • Nickel
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotOnça Puma Operaton is the largest global producer of nickel.

Onça Puma Operaton consist of two main open pits (Onça and Puma), satellite deposits (Puma W, Guepardo and Mundial), and a smelting operation producing a high-quality ferronickel for application within the stainless-steel industry.

On April 2, 2024, the TJPA suspended the injunction that allowed Onça Puma to continue to operate.

May 28, 2024 - Vale and the Brazilian state of Para have moved closer to an agreement that could allow the mining group to resume operations at its Onca Puma nickel mine. A further meeting is expected to take place on June 20, 2024.

Growth project as at December 2023: Assembly of the second furnace, detailed engineering, and equipment and services’ procurement is underway. Physical progress - 26%. Start-up - 2H25.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Manara Minerals Investment Co. 10 % Indirect
Vale S.A. 90 % Indirect
Mineração Onça Puma S.A. (operator) 100 % Direct
Onca Puma Operation is owned and operated by Mineração Onça Puma S.A. (wholly-owned subsidiary of Vale Base Metals Ltd., the holding entity of Vale’s Energy Transition Metals business).

On April 30, 2024, Vale S.A. announced the completion of Vale Base Metals Ltd.(“VBM”) sale to Manara Minerals, under which Manara Minerals will acquire 10% of VBM.

Terms of agreement:

On 27 July, 2023, Vale S.A. signed a binding agreement with Manara Minerals, under which Manara Minerals will invest in Vale Base Metals Ltd. at an implied enterprise value of US$ 26.0 billion.

Concurrently, Vale and investment firm Engine No. 1 entered into a binding agreement pursuant to which Engine No. 1 will make an equity investment in VBM under the same economic terms.

The total consideration to be paid to VBM under both agreements is US$ 3.4 billion, for a 13% equity interest. Manara Minerals will own 10% of

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Laterite
  • Saprolite

Summary:

The Onca Puma mine is built on lateritic nickel deposits of saprolitic laterite ore.

Lateritic weathering profiles at Onca and Puma can be classified according to protolith mineralogy and the accumulation of quartz. Protolith mineralogy, the presence of significant chlorite and/or vermiculite in the serpentine #3 host at Puma distinguishes that deposit from Onca where the dominant Serpentinite #2 host is largely serpentine and chromite.

Each of the deposits has a saprolitic zone overlaid by a limonitic zone (if it has survived erosion). Nonsiliceous or normal profiles consist of serpentinite saprolite overlain by thin layers of limonite and in rare cases by some form o f ferricrete. Siliceous profiles are defined as having greater than 15% quartz in both siliceous saprolite and siliceous limonite. The limonite zones overlying tire On9a and Puma saprolites are generally thin, discontinuous, and from their chemistry consist of goethite, chromite, several manganese oxide phases, and sporadic amounts of quartz.

The principal minerals in the Onca saprolite in decreasing order of importance are serpentine, limonite, quartz, chromite and vermiculite. Ni occurs in solid solution largely in serpentine with subordinate amounts in goethite (=limonite) and vermiculite. Minor amounts of various green silicates, “gamierites” intergrown with chalcedonic quartz, are seen locally in Onca saprolite; grains of possible nepouite contained 13-19 wt% Ni have also been identified in mineralogical studies. Nickel and Cobalt also occur in manganese oxide phases but not in significant amounts of the saprolite unit. Intergrowths of a Mn-Al oxide phase have also been observed (typically this would be lithiophorite) and tamaite, (K,Ba)3Mn24(Si,Al)40(O,OH)u22*(H2O), with - 10% contained Ni.

Nickel in the Puma serpentinite is associated with narrow zones of fine-grained serpentine micro-breccia and centimeter-scale subhedral patches of very fine-grained polycrystalline chlorite and vermiculite. Locally significant amounts of chlorite and vermiculite are cut by millimeter to centimeter thick garnierite ± chalcedony veinlets controlled by a structural event which has cross-cut the igneous-layering. Vermiculite and chlorite are strongly enriched in nickel in the saprolite zone. Because both are more insoluble than serpentine, they persist upward in the laterite profile and are present in limonite and siliceous limonite.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

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Production

CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
Nickel kt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1223252424
All production numbers are expressed as alloy.

Operational metrics

Metrics20232022202120202019201720162015
Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe27,000 t of nickel metal in alloy
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe321 kt964 kt1,710 kt1,024 kt

Production Costs

CommodityUnits202120202019
Cash costs (sold) Nickel USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 9,965 / t **  
** Net of By-Product.

Financials

Units20232022202120202019
EBITDA M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 9  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.

Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 29, 2024

Aerial view:

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