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Monday, December 12, 2011

Vale may begin iron ore transshipment ops in Philippines Jan/Feb-source

Mon Dec 12, 2011

SINGAPORE Dec 12 (Reuters) - Top iron ore miner Vale may start operating its iron ore transshipment centre in the Philippines' Subic Bay Freeport in late January or early February, a source with knowledge of the plan said on Monday.

Vale will be putting a large floating storage vessel in the Subic port, located in the main Luzon island, where iron ore from its massive 400,000-tonne carriers can be stored and transferred to smaller vessels that would bring the raw material to Asian buyers such as China, the source told Reuters.

Brazil's Vale is spending more than $2 billion on the fleet of giant vessels to cut its cost of shipping iron ore to top market China.

"We are just waiting for the arrival of their floating storage vessel right now and we are in contact with Vale Singapore regarding the project," said the source.

"We expect it to start in late January or early February," the source said, referring to Vale's planned iron ore distribution center in Subic Bay.

Officials at Vale in Singapore and Subic Bay Freeport in the Philippines declined to comment.

The iron ore transshipment center in Subic is one of at least two that Vale is planning to set up in the region.

The Brazilian company in October broke ground for its $1.3 billion iron ore distribution center in Malaysia's northern Perak state. The Malaysian project would only be ready by 2014.

Vale's Subic transshipment centre was previously scheduled to start in October following a memorandum of agreement signed between the firm and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority earlier in the year.

"There was a delay because the floating storage vessel that will be stationed in Subic had to be retrofitted," the source said. "We had to upgrade it."

(sourced Reuters)

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