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Mining major Vale has received the installation environmental license for the expansion of its Carajás Serra Sul S11D iron project from Brazil’s Environmental Protection Agency.

Serra Sul Mine is the latest project at Carajas in the Amazonian state of Pará and is claimed to be the highest grade project in the industry.

Carajas, one of the world’s largest iron-ore mines, has reserves of 4.2 billion tonnes of iron ore.

The S11D project is expected to commence production in 2016 and reach a full capacity of 90 million tonnes of iron ore annually in 2018.

The license is part of the project’s second phase of approvals, and allows the company to commence facility construction.

The $19.5bn investment for the Serra Sul project, comprises $8.1bn for the development of mine and processing plant and $11.4bn for logistics.

Vale will use truckless technology for the project in order to fully replace its in-mine trucks, which are expected to reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 77%.

Moreover, the company intends to process iron ore using its natural moisture, a dry process technology, to lessen the environment impact.

The dry process will remove the generation of tailings with the maximum use of iron ore, as the finest feeds are within the final product, which otherwise get lost in the conventional methods.

Image : Carajas is Brazil’s largest iron ore mine complex.

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