(Adds detail on iron ore project, Vale statement)
BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO Dec 9 Brazil's federal
environment body Ibama approved on Friday the operating license
for a giant iron ore mine being constructed by Vale SA
in the Amazonian state of Para known as S11D.
The license is valid for 10 years, a document published on
Ibama's website said.
S11D is set to start operations by the end of the year, with
the first shipment set for January 2017.
The mine will have a capacity of 90 million tonnes and
reasserts Vale's position as the world's top iron ore producer,
after years of stagnation in which Australia's Rio Tinto
effectively equaled its output.
It also lowers the company's production costs, vital in an
era of lower iron ore prices.
Vale said it had been notified of the decision.
The license is "an important milestone in consolidating
Vale's position as the producer with the lowest C1 cash cost in
the industry," Vale said in a statement, referring to a
standardized cost of production that excludes freight and
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer and Marta Nogueira; Editing
by Tom Brown)