Vale seeks fertilizer partner
The railway stake is being sold to help belay the cost of the $4.4 billion, 912-kilometer railway, which will also be used for non-coal general cargo in an attempt to open up the Mozambique interior to large-scale farming, Ferreira said.
In September Vale agreed to sell a majority stake in its VLI SA Brazilian rail and port general cargo unit to Japan's Mitsui Co, Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc and the FGTS worker compensation fund managed by Brazil's government.
A deal on the railway is expected by mid-2014, he said.
Vale's nickel business is working hard to increase productivity, Ferreira said, with Vale's planned consortium with international metals producer and trader Glencore Xstrata Plc nickel projects in Canada's Sudbury region likely to be signed in the first quarter of 2014.
The so-called non-corporate joint venture will operate Glencore and Vale's operations around Sudbury, a city in the northern part of Ontario, "as a single unit."
This and other efforts to cut nickel mining costs will leave Vale well-placed to deal with the impact of any potential nickel shortages in China because of Indonesia's decision to ban nickel ore exports and force miners to smelt the metal domestically.
"If costs stay low, we won't make as much money, but we are efficient so if costs go up it will help us," he said.
Ferreira also told reporters that Vale's 50-50 "Samarco" Brazilian iron ore joint venture with Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd signed a contract with Nucor Corp, the largest U.S. steelmaker by market value.
Vale has had little success in the past selling iron ore to the United States, whose mills obtain most of their ore from mines on or near the Great Lakes and other waterways that keep transportation costs cheap. Such costs are a major factor in iron ore prices.
Vale has said it hopes the U.S. natural gas and oil boom based on unconventional reserves will help boost the country's energy-intensive industries such as steel, helping Vale gain new customers for its ore, which needs less refining to be brought up to steelmakers' standards.
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