Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron-ore miner, secured a preliminary licence to expand its flagship Carajas mine, in the northern state of Para, which should help the company win a bigger slice of the sea-borne iron-ore market.
The company said in a note on Wednesday evening that Brazil’s environmental regulator Ibama granted it a preliminary licence for its plans to expand its N4WS, N5S, Morro I and Morro II projects at Carajas, which combined would give Vale an additional 1.8-billion tonnes in reserves.
A preliminary licence gives companies the right to begin preparations for the construction of the mine build-outs. Actual construction of the mine projects will require an installation licence and to begin operations will require yet another licence from Ibama, but these subsequent steps are less cumbersome bureaucratically.
Vale’s chief executive officer, Murilo Ferreira, said in the note that the licence was an important step toward meeting milestones for increasing its output of ore.
Carajas currently has five openpit mines: N4E, N4W, N5E and N5 Sul. As the world’s largest iron-ore mine, it accounts for 35% of Vale’s annual ore output of more than 300-million tonnes.