Brazil grants operating license to Vale’s massive S11D iron ore mine

Iron ore giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) scored Friday a key win after the Brazilian government granted the company a 10-year operating license for its flagship project in the Amazonian state of Para, known as S11D.

S11D is set to start operations before year-end, with first shipment expected in January 2017.

According to a document published on the country’ federal environment body Ibama's website (in Portuguese), the massive operation will produce 90 million tonnes a year. That compares to the company’s overall target of 340–350 million tonnes in 2016.

Vale, which already is the world’s largest iron ore producer, said the license was an important milestone in consolidating the company’s position “as the producer with the lowest C1 cash cost in the industry." The miner was referring to a standardized cost of production that excludes freight and royalties.

Last year Vale told investors S11D would push the company's cash costs per tonne to below $10 from the current $12.30.

S11D is Vale's largest-ever investment, valued in some $17 billion. It is expected to start operations before year-end, with first shipments slated for in early 2017.