Anglo American has started shipping first the iron ore produced from its Minas-Rio project in Brazil to customers in China.

The company has begun shipments of more than 80,000t of iron ore for the pellet feed market on a chartered vessel from the export terminal at the port of Açu, Rio de Janeiro.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said: "Minas-Rio has an exceptional resource in terms of scale and ore quality, producing some of the highest quality pellet feed available for our customers across the Middle East and Asia, providing us with a clear competitive advantage."

"Minas-Rio has an exceptional resource in terms of scale and ore quality, producing some of the highest quality pellet feed available." 

The Minas-Rio iron ore project includes an open cut mine and beneficiation plant in the state of Minas Gerais.

The project is designed to produce 26.5 million tonnes a year (Mtpa) of iron ore pellet feed for the steel industry, with a particularly high iron ore content of around 68% and low levels of contaminants, the company stated.

Anglo American Iron Ore Brazil business CEO Paulo Castellari said: "We are now focused on achieving a safe ramp-up to the 26.5Mtpa capacity over the next 18 to 20 months and on the regular cycle of licence and permit renewal required for a mining operation of our scale in Brazil, as we transition into operational mode."

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Minas-Rio has an estimated 686 million (wet) tonnes of iron ore reserve with a mine life of 28 years.

Image: Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani. Photo: courtesy of Anglo American.