Brazil grants Vale license for S11D iron ore mine rail branch

The Brazilian government has granted iron ore giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) a 10-year license to operate a 101-kilometre branch line connecting its S11D project in the Amazon jungle to the Carajas Railway.

Thanks to this decision, the world's largest iron ore exporter will be able to haul S11D's output to the Port of Ponta da Madeira in Sao Luis to ships that will load the product for export.

S11D is Vale's largest-ever investment, valued in some $17 billion, and it is expected to start operations this year. It will have a capacity of 90 million metric tonnes/year, or more than 25% of Vale's 2015 iron ore output. The first iron ore sale from S11D is expected in early 2017.

The project, however, is facing fierce opposition from environmentalists and Indigenous groups who live in nearby areas, given its impacts in the Amazon rainforest.