LONDON (Reuters) - Anglo American has received the final operating license it needs to boost production at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil to its full capacity of 26.5 million tonnes a year, the mining company said on Monday.
Anglo American’s Minas-Rio mine, which has been dogged by delays and waits for permits following a pipeline leak in March 2018, will produce 23 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019.
The license was issued after the company boosted the storage capacity at the site for waste known as tailings. Waste disposal is a sensitive issue after a tailings dam collapsed at a Vale mine in Brazil, killing some 300 people.
J.P. Morgan Cazenove said news of the license removed “a key tail risk for Anglo’s equity story in 2020” and the investment bank reiterated its recommendation to remain “overweight” in Anglo American shares.
Anglo’s share price rose 0.5% on Monday, and has gained more than 20% this year.
The mining company, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, said it could now complete a third phase of development at Minas-Rio to achieve full capacity.
It said the Minas-Rio tailings dam had “a conservative and high quality design” for safety. It also said the iron ore was high grade, which means its extraction and processing into steel produces less waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Mining companies are coming under increased pressure from investors concerned about the environmental and social impact of resource extraction.
Separately, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) said on Monday that Anglo American had pledged to address any misalignments between the company’s policy positions and the goals of the Paris Agreement on curbing global warming.
The IIGCC, which is backed by investors with more than $4.7 trillion in assets under management, said the pledge also applied to trade groups Anglo American supports.
IIGCC CEO Stephanie Pfeifer said the company must follow through and trade bodies it belongs to “must be called to account where they are opposing, impeding or evading the policy required to support decarbonization and reduce global emissions”.
In a statement on its website, Anglo American said it has considered plans for strengthened governance and to “ensuring action will be taken on any fundamental misalignments”.
The biggest listed mining company, Australia’s BHP, has come under fire for belonging to industry groups that campaigners say lobby for the continued use of coal. BHP said this month it was considering its membership of four industry associations but was not yet pulling out.
Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Louise Heavens/David Clarke/Susan Fenton