Anglo American granted licence for tailings dam at Brazilian iron ore mine

Anglo American will soon return its Minas Rio iron ore mine in Brazil to full capacity after the mining giant was granted a key licence for the use of an expanded tailings dam at the site.

Operations at the mine were suspended for eight months last year following a leak in a pipeline that carries ore to a port in Rio de Janeiro for export.

Anglo restarted Minas Rio in December 2018 after repairing the pipeline, but analysts declared that future production would be severely reduced if Anglo were unable to raise the level of the tailings dam.

The newly granted licence will allow Anglo to operate the upgraded mine waste storage and completes the third phase of mine development, which will take it to full capacity.

Anglo acquired the iron ore project in Southeastern Brazil during the commodity prices boom of 2007-08 for US$5.5 billion, and went on to spend another $8.4 billion to bring Minas Rio into production in 2014.

Minas Rio will produce 23 million tonnes of iron ore this year, just shy of its nameplate capacity of 26.5 million tonnes.