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Vale’s $1 trillion iron mine in the Amazon wins approval

The Brazilian government approved the environmental license for the expansion of an iron mine in the Amazon region, reports Vale, the Brazilian mining giant behind the project.

The S11D mine will be an extension of Vale’s existing Carajas complex in the state of Pará. The company will spend $8 billion to develop the mine, which the it says holds up to a trillion dollars worth of iron ore.

Vale says the mine will begin operating in 2016 and produce up to 90 million tons of iron ore per year.

Green groups have expressed concern about the mining project for its potential impact on the environment, including boosting demand for energy.

To provide electricity for mining and smelting operations, Brazil has embarked on a dam-building spree across the Amazon. Vale is a major backer of the controversial Belo Monte dam, which will block the flow of the Xingu river, flooding tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest and directly displacing more than 20,000 people.

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