Vale restarts licensing process for Apolo iron ore project

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

Brazilian miner Vale has restarted the process of acquiring environmental licenses for its Apolo iron ore project in the state of Minas Gerais following a major revision of the original plan, the company said in a presentation on Tuesday.

The plans for the project, which has a capacity of 14 million tonnes per year and a lifespan of 29 years, have been revised to reduce its environmental impact, the company said.

According to the presentation made to the Minas Gerais state assembly, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the company expects to receive the necessary licenses to begin operations by 2028.

In the latest plan, Vale said it has done away with the need for tailings dams and reduced the total area required for the project.

Tailings dams, used to store mining waste, have come under increased scrutiny in Brazil following two deadly disasters in recent years. The most recent dam failure, which killed 270 people, happened at a Vale mine in the state of Minas Gerais in 2019.

(By Marta Nogueira and Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by David Evans)

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