Anglo American restarts iron ore mine in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Mining giant Anglo American restarted an iron ore mine in Brazil that had been closed for eight months to replace and inspect a leaking pipeline, the company said.

The stoppage of the big Minas-Rio mine in Minas Gerais state since March cost the London- and Johannesburg-headquartered company $320 million, it said in a statement to investors on Friday.

The resumption of one of the world's largest mining projects will allow Anglo American to supply China's appetite for high-end iron ore. The mine received permission this year to expand.

"The protection of the natural environment surrounding local communities and the overall integrity of the pipeline have formed the focus of our work to restart Minas-Rio," chief executive Mark Cutifani said.

Mining activities in Brazil are under careful scrutiny after the country's worst-ever environmental diaster in November 2015, when an iron ore tailings dam mine elsewhere in Minas Gerais collapsed, killing 19 people and devastating a river valley.

That mine was run by Samarco, jointly owned by Australian mining giant BHP and Brazil's Vale.

Another mine, an alumina operation located in the Amazon region and owned by Norwegian group Norsk Hydro, in October cut production by 50 percent amid a dispute with authorities accusing it of polluting a river with bauxite residues.