RIO DE JANEIRO, July 3 Vale SA, the
world's largest iron ore miner, received a license from Brazil's
Environmental Protection Agency to build a $19.5 billion
expansion to its giant Carajas iron ore mining project, CEO
Murilo Ferreira said on Wednesday.
The expansion, known as the Serra Sul Mine, the latest
project at Carajas in Brazil's Amazonian state of Pará, is
expected to start production in 2016 and reach full capacity of
90 million tonnes a year of iron ore in 2018, or nearly a third
of Vale's existing annual output.
Rio de Janeiro-based Vale has been cutting investments
outside of Brazil to focus on Serra Sul and other local mining
projects as rising demand for minerals from China slows. The new
mine is expected to replace depleted projects, primarily in
Brazil's southeastern state of Minas Gerais and help make up for
declining ore quality at some other mines, Ferreira said.
Demand for iron ore is expected to grow at about 3 percent a
year in the next several years, Ferreira said.
The mine is also expected to be Vale's most efficient and
ecologically sustainable. It will use far less water than
previous mines and will not require the traditional mining waste
dump to hold uncommercial leftovers from processing, Vale said.
It will also avoid the use of diesel-guzzling trucks using
electric conveyors and other equipment to shift earth and ore.
Vale's shares trimmed losses after the announcement but
still closed 0.9 percent lower at 25.86 reais.