RIO DE JANEIRO, July 22 (Reuters) - A Brazilian court partially suspended work by Vale SA on a rail track expansion in the Amazon for the world’s largest iron ore project, the company said on Wednesday, after concerns were raised over its effect on an indigenous community.
The mining company said the ruling, handed down by a federal court in the northeastern state of Maranhao, applies to work to lay a second track on a 52 kilometer stretch of railway which runs near an indigenous reserve. A separate note from federal prosecutors said the work had been stopped due to the impact it was having on the local indigenous community.
The rail expansion in Brazil’s Para region is part of Vale’s key S11D project which will add 90 million tonnes of annual iron ore production. The mine in the Carajas district of Para is set to start ramping up in the second half of next year.
Vale is building the extra track to expand rail capacity and make operations safer on a line that moves nearly a tenth of the world’s seaborne iron ore from mine to port.
Vale said the work is in line with environmental licensing laws and that it is taking all measures within its power to resolve the issue. Vale did not say whether the suspension would affect the timeframe for delivering the project. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Andrew Hay)