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The company produced 5.76 million tonnes of pellets from June to September, against 5.94 million tonnes for the corresponding period a year earlier.
Compared to the second quarter of this year, however, third-quarter output increased by 1%, from 5.7 million tonnes.
Between January and September, Samarco’s pellet production came to 16.88 million tonnes. But pellet shipments dropped both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter.
Shipments were at 5.24 million tonnes in the third quarter, down by 10.2% compared with the corresponding period last year, and by 5.4% over the second quarter of 2012.
Pellet shipments totalled 15.68 million tonnes between January and September.
These figures were based on BHP Billiton’s third-quarter production report, which shows data which correlates to its 50% attributable production and sales at Samarco.
BHP Billiton noted that Samarco’s project to commission a fourth pelletizing line is 59% complete.
With the addition of this new plant, Samarco will increase its pellet output by 8.3 million tpy to 30.5 million tpy in the first half of 2014.
Brazil’s Samarco, the 50:50 pelletizing joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton, saw its pellet output drop by 3% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012.