Anglo American has received the next phase of its operating license for its Minas-Rio tailings facility in Brazil, following the work to raise the dam as part of the Step 3 license area of the mine, the company said. The regulatory authorities in Brazil granted the installation license for this work in January 2018 and the construction work was completed in August 2019.

“This is an important milestone for our Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil toward reaching its full potential,” said Seamus French, CEO of Bulk Commodities at Anglo American. “Minas-Rio has a long asset life of 48 years and produces a high grade, premium quality product for our customers, supporting lower emissions in the steel industry.”

French added that Minas-Rio is expected to produce 23 million metric tons (mt) in 2019, with an FOB unit cost of about $24/mt.

The Minas-Rio tailings dam uses a downstream construction design and is an embankment dam structure, built using compacted imported earth-fill material, with carefully selected granular materials for the drainage and filter zones. Tailings are not used to build the dam, and instead construction materials are placed in controlled layers. French explained that this is a conservative and high-quality design for a tailings dam, being designed and built as a water-retaining type of dam.