Anglo American shipped the first 80,000 mt of iron ore from its Minas-Rio mine in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, in late October. The cargo was loaded onto a chartered vessel at the dedicated export terminal at the port of Açu in Rio de Janeiro and was being shipped to customers in China.

Minas-Rio is a fully integrated iron ore operation, consisting of an open-cut mine and beneficiation plant in Minas Gerais and a 529-km pipeline that transfers iron ore slurry from the mine to the port of Açu. At the peak of construction, the project’s workforce numbered more than 20,000, while the operation in steady state will employ 4,000 people, 70% of whom are from communities local to the operation.

Minas-Rio is designed to produce 26.5 million mt/y (wet basis) of iron ore pellet feed for the steel industry, with high iron ore content of about 68% and low levels of contaminants. Ramp up to design capacity is expected to take 18 to 20 months.

The Minas-Rio mine currently hosts an estimated 686 million (wet) mt of saleable product grading 67.5% iron and has an estimated mine life of 28 years.

Anglo American received its Minas-Rio environmental operating license from Brazil’s Council on Environmental Policy on September 29 (E&MJ, November 2014, p. 6).