Anglo, Vale in talks to jointly develop Serpentina iron ore mine

Vale ore-loaded train taken from Itabira Minas Gerais, Brazil. Stock image.

Anglo American confirmed on Wednesday preliminary discussions with Vale SA to potentially jointly develop the Brazilian miner’s Serpentina project adjacent to the London-listed company’s Minas-Rio iron ore mine.

Anglo did not divulge details but Vale said a day earlier the potential partnership could leverage Anglo’s “processing and logistics infrastructure” from Minas-Rio which includes a mine, a 529 km (328.7 miles) transport pipeline and a port.

Anglo said there was no certainty a deal will be struck or what its terms could be, echoing Vale, which said no decision has been made over the project. The Brazilian miner said it often evaluates partnerships as part of its business.

Vale’s disclosure on Tuesday came after a Bloomberg News report last week said the Brazilian miner was considering acquiring either a minority or majority stake in Minas-Rio, citing people familiar with the preliminary discussions.

Anglo bought Minas-Rio in 2007-2008 from former Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista for about $5.5 billion. The mine performed strongly last year, producing 24.1 million tonnes of iron ore, helping the miner offset some hit from the pandemic.

The Serpentina project comprises mining rights in three municipalities in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, Vale said.

(By Gram Slattery and Pushkala Aripaka; Editing by Brad Haynes, Richard Pullin and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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