RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Anglo American PLC said on Tuesday it expects to receive long-awaited licenses on Friday which will pave the way for the mining company to boost its Brazilian iron ore production capacity by about 56 percent.
Anglo American plans to invest 1 billion reais ($308.94 million) to expand its iron ore extraction capacity at Minas-Rio mine in Minas Gerais state to 26.5 million tons per year from 17 million.
The pre-installation and installation licenses are up for consideration Friday by a council at Semad, Minas Gerais’ state environmental regulator, part of a process begun in 2015.
If the licenses are granted, the company will be able to start construction to extend the mining system, including upgrading a tailings dam and opening a pit.
The company will still need an operating license from the state environmental agency to begin operations.
In an email to Reuters, the company said it was confident it would receive approval Friday.
“We believe in the robustness of the process, the support of communities and the endorsement of all relevant authorities,” the company said.
Anglo American bought the project from businessman Eike Batista between 2007 and 2008 for nearly $5.5 billion, then the biggest foreign mining investment in Brazil.
The mine made its first iron ore shipment in October 2014, following a series of delays. Anglo American had planned to boost its capacity to 26.5 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2016, but postponed the increase to 2018, citing licensing issues. ($1 = 3.2369 reais) (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; editing by Grant McCool)