Brazilian firm MMX Mineracao e Metalicos has received a preliminary licence from the Minas Gerias state environmental authority for its Serra Azul iron ore mining unit in Minas Gerais state, south-east Brazil.

MMX has received the licence to expand its iron ore mining operations at the project, with an investment of R$4bn ($2.51bn).

With the receipt of the licence, the firm will proceed with construction of a processing plant with the capacity to enrich 24 million metric tonnes of iron ore at the site.

MMX will construct a new rail terminal and a 10km conveyor belt to carry the ore from the enrichment plant to the terminal, as part of the expansion.

The firm is also developing a port at Itaguai in Rio de Janeiro that will facilitate exports from the area and serve other companies that own iron ore reserves in Serra Azul.