Building the future of mining.
The low supply of metallic commodities globally and the increase in demand during the year increased the price of zinc and copper, Nexa’s main products, contributing to the company’s positive results. The price of zinc rose 28% over the previous year, reaching its highest level in the last 14 years. On the other hand, the industry was also affected by rising input prices and logistical constraints.
Despite that, Nexa achieved a record adjusted EBITDA of US$704 million and net revenue of US$2.6 billion in 2021, 75% and 34% higher, respectively, than 2020. Higher prices and volumes, as well as the initiatives of the Jeito Nexa (Nexa Way) program, contributed to the positive results in the year, despite the operational challenges related to lower mineral supply and the increase in input prices.
Jeito Nexa, the company’s program to transform the organizational culture, promotes initiatives to improve efficiency in all areas of the operation. In 2021, it is estimated that Jeito Nexa had a positive impact on adjusted EBITDA of US$209 million, exceeding initial expectations.
Another important project in year was Aripuanã, an underground polymetallic mine in the state of Mato Grosso that will start operating in the third quarter of 2022. Aripuanã is one of the largest zinc projects being implemented in the world, with an investment of approximately US$625 million and production estimated at around 120,000 tonnes of zinc equivalent per year. This investment aims to increase the integration between the company’s existing mines and smelters. Aripuanã is considered one of the most sustainable mining projects in Brazil; highlighting the dry disposal of tailings and high eficiency in water reuse in the production process.
As part of Nexa’s sustainability agenda, one important step was the creation of ESG targets linked to the variable compensation of company executives. In the social arena, Nexa continued to support the communities where it operates in their fight against COVID-19. During the year, social investments totaled more than US$7 million to implement initiatives aligned with the company’s strategic social axes: economic development, support for public management, and initiatives for children and young adults.
In addition, the company focused the efforts of its innovation program, the Mining Lab, on ESG solutions to economic, environmental, and social challenges. In 2021, the program continued to be carried out 100% remotely and launched eight challenges in three areas: (i) productivity and safety; (ii) use of zinc; and (iii) transformational decarbonization. The Mining Lab is a global program open to applicants from 23 countries. Of the 149 applications received during the year, four were selected for proofs of concept in 2022: Carbon Upcycling Technologies from Canada (with a solution to transformational decarbonization challenges in mining and metallurgy), Eye Gauge from France and Eugenie from the United States (with solutions to the challenge of increasing the use and availability of mobile equipment), and Nextcam Social, from Brazil (which focuses on monitoring activities and mapping behavior deviations).
As part of its environmental efforts, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to contribute to a low-carbon economy, Nexa remains committed to reducing the volume of waste and transforming it into secondary products to reduce the use of tailing dams. In Peru, a pilot project was carried out to transform waste from the El Porvenir mining unit into cement. It was approved by the National Council of Science, Technology, and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC, for its initials in Spanish) to receive an incentive through a law in support of research projects. Currently, 70% of the tailings from Nexa’s mining process are dry piled or returned to the mines, and only 30% are deposited in dams.
In the area of diversity, Nexa launched the Talentos Plurais (Plural Talents) program to hire and train people with disabilities who have graduated or will graduate by 2022. The company was also certified by Women on Board, an independent initiative that recognizes and encourages the inclusion of women in boards of directors or consultative bodies.
In November, the company appointed a new CEO, Ignacio Rosado, who has extensive experience in the metals and mining industry.