IT’S fair to say that investment in Africa has been hit-and-miss for Vale, Brazil’s government-owned miner. It was in 2010 in Guinea, for instance, that Vale first bought a 51% stake in the Simandou iron ore project for $2.5bn. It shelved the project and then had its mineral rights rubbed out by the government – against which it briefly threatened legal action. Now, however, Murilo Ferreira, in an effort to cut debt $10bn, has looked to Africa again. He agreed to sell a 15% stake in its Moatize coking coal mine in Mozambique to Mitsui & Co. for $450m after two years of wrangling. It will also sell a further 50% stake to the Japanese in the Nacala Logistics Corridor which consists of a rail line from the southern African country’s Tete province to Nacala on the northern coastline. Still, Vale is a major player in Mozambique having spearheaded the $4.5bn project – one of Africa’s biggest. In 2017, Vale expects to produce 17 million tonnes (mt) of coking coal from Moatize and sell 13mt of which 11mt will be exported through Nacala. Ferreira is also unlikely to exercise Vale’s pre-emptive rights over Lubambe copper mine in Zambia. The mine is held in joint venture with African Rainbow Minerals, which wants to sell its stake. Ferreira may take a similar course of action following constant flooding of the mine.
LIFE OF MURILO
Born into a family of doctors, Murilo Ferreira joined Vale in 1977 as an analyst. He’s moved through the ranks since then, running Vale Inco, its Canadian subsidiary before joining the state-owned firm’s main board in 2005 where he was responsible for new business. The call to the hot seat came in 2011. A graduate in business administration at Fundaçäo Getúlio Vargas in Säo Paulo, Ferreira is also a member of the Brazil-Japan Wise Men Group.
“I am very serious.”
- Web Address: www.vale.com