Home » Vale Appoints Shaun Usmar as New Head of Base Metals Division

Vale Appoints Shaun Usmar as New Head of Base Metals Division

Mining Veteran to Spearhead Copper and Nickel Growth

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

Vale SA, a titan in the global metals industry, has announced its decision to appoint Shaun Usmar, a seasoned mining executive, as the head of its base metals division. This strategic move is part of the Brazilian company’s ambitious plan to enhance its copper and nickel production capabilities.

Shaun Usmar, known for his extensive experience spanning over three decades in the mining sector, is set to lead Vale Base Metals. His career includes significant positions such as the founder and CEO of Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp., a Toronto-based streaming company. Usmar’s track record also features a notable stint as the chief financial officer at Barrick Gold Corp. from 2014 to 2016, with prior roles at Xstrata Plc and BHP Billiton.

The choice of Usmar by Vale’s board, based in Rio de Janeiro, reflects their confidence in his capability to drive the division forward. While the appointment awaits final confirmation, and details remain subject to change, the potential leadership of Usmar is already generating discussions within industry circles.

Vale Base Metals, under Usmar’s prospective leadership, will manage operations spread across strategic locations in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. This division, distinct from the company’s iron ore operations, gained autonomy last year when Vale sold a 10% stake of the nickel-and-copper unit to Saudi Arabia. This sale was part of a broader strategy to unlock and enhance the value of this division.

The base metals unit of Vale has been navigating a leadership vacuum since March when Deshnee Naidoo resigned from the CEO position. In the interim, the division has been under the stewardship of Mark Cutifani, former CEO of Anglo American and the current chairman of Vale Base Metals. Cutifani recently unveiled a comprehensive plan, committing billions of dollars towards enhancing productivity and reducing operational costs at the nickel and copper mines and processing facilities located in Brazil and Canada.

This leadership transition comes at a crucial time for Vale as it seeks to capitalize on the growing global demand for copper and nickel, driven by expanding markets in electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies. The expertise Usmar brings to the table is expected to significantly contribute to Vale’s strategic objectives, enhancing its position in the competitive global market.

Vale has opted not to comment on the ongoing developments. Similarly, attempts to reach Usmar and Triple Flag for comments have not yet received responses. Investors and the mining industry are both closely following this development, as they believe Usmar’s leadership may signal the start of a new phase of innovation and expansion for Vale’s base metals business.

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