Mining giant Anglo American has received a licence from Brazil's environmental agency Ibama to start production at the Minas-Rio iron ore mine and processing plant in the Minas Gerais state.
Located on the south-east border of the São Francisco Cràton, the Minas-Rio iron ore project will explore the iron deposits located in the mountain ranges of Serra do Sapo and Itapanhoacanga.
During its first year of production, Anglo anticipates an output of around 11 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes. It has plans to raise the capacity to 26.5 million tonnes a year in 2016 and continue till the end of its mine life of 28 years, reported Reuters.
Last week, Anglo American received approval from Ibama to operate the 525km slurry pipe at the mine. The pipeline will be used to carry iron ore from the mine to the company's export terminal at the Atlantic port of Acu in Rio de Janeiro.
The company is expected to incur approximately $9bn for the works at the mine, pipeline and port.
Minas-Rio was purchased by Anglo American from Brazilian billionaire Bike Batista for around $5.5bn in 2007 and 2008.
Decline in iron ore prices, driven by low demand from China, forced the company to delay the start up of the mine, which was originally scheduled for 2009.
Anglo is investing around $2.2bn this year and a further $1bn next year.
Image: Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Minas Gerais state of Brazil. Photo: courtesy of flickr.