Barro Alto Electric Furnace Upgrade

Anglo American | Brazil | 2013–2015

US$30 million

under budget

1.4 million 

man-hours with 0 LTIs


operational flexibility


long-term furnace integrity


  • Upgrade two 81 MW rectangular FeNi electric furnaces and related ancillary equipment
  • Improve the performance and reduce the operating risks of the existing furnaces.
  • This brownfield site presented unique safety and scheduling challenges.


  • As part of an integrated project execution team, we provided engineering, procurement, and construction management services.
  • Upgraded furnaces using our licensed technologies to reach nameplate capacity.
  • Higher power density is more sustainable because less power is needed per unit of nickel produced.
  • Upgraded furnace-binding system promotes furnace integrity. Improved copper-wall-cooling system increases operational flexibility, and air-cooling the furnace shell plates cuts risk of refractory hydration.


  • The site team was principally comprised of a local workforce, with support and expertise from around the globe.
  • Recent success with another similar project in Brazil made Hatch the obvious technology choice.
  • Provided improved efficiency and the shortest possible shutdown through construction planning, using 4D schedule simulation and strong materials-management implementation.
  • Construction management team faced multiple challenges, including working safely on multiple fronts adjacent to an operating smelter.

“The furnaces reached operating capacity early and passed all performance test criteria with flying colors. The project was completed approximately 1 month early and 8% under budget, making it stand out amongst recent efforts.”

Euler Piantino | Projects Director, Anglo American NNP (Brazil)

“Barro Alto is now operating above nameplate capacity at a 40% lower unit cost. Barro Alto $0.3bn [project capital cost] … ~ $30m under budget and scope delivered.”

Mark Cutifani | CEO, Anglo American

Project numbers

2 x 81MW ferronickel electric furnace upgrades
40% lower unit cost

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