PT Vale Indonesia is seeking to increase their sustainability, currently underpinned by hydropower, through exploring further options to reduce their carbon emissions. Beca has completed an energy optimisation study covering 3 existing ore dryers.

These three rotary dryers at their Sorowako site are used for drying nickel ore from a high moisture content to a target moisture content for further processing downstream. The dryers employ dual fuel burners where Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) is used during start-ups, and Pulverised Coal (PC) for normal operations.

Our study was intended to investigate opportunities to improve dryer fuel efficiency, thus achieving a net reduction in specific fuel usage to satisfy PT Vale’s corporate emission targets.

Our considerable site experience at Sorowako and longstanding relationship with PT Vale allowed us to deliver this study effectively, using our deep understanding of the site's operations.

Based on our key findings, a broad list of options for improving PT Vale’s dryer fuel efficiency were developed and critically assessed. These options included ore storage and screening improvements, ore feed physical improvements and waste heat recovery.

From this long list of options, 7 were determined to be most effective for reducing ore moisture and achieving a net reduction in fuel costs and therefore carbon emissions.

Our assessment and identified solutions through this study are just the first step to help meet PT Vale’s carbon emissions energy savings objectives. To progress this study, further feasibility studies for each shortlisted option prior to execution were also recommended.


Carbon reduction options


Potential CO2 savings


PA nickel production on site

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Eleanor Grant

Principal - Industrial Sustainability

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Ross Plumpton

Business Director - Minerals & Metals

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