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Anglo American resumes iron-ore operations at Minas-Rio

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By Reuters
Anglo American resumes iron-ore operations at Minas-Rio
FILE PHOTO: The Anglo American logo is seen in Rusternburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo   -   Copyright  SIPHIWE SIBEKO(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo American <AAL.L> said on Friday it was restarting operations at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil after months of closure and said it expected an underlying EBITDA loss of $320 million (253 million pounds) for 2018 as a result of the outage.

Provided it receives the necessary permit, Anglo American said it expected operations to ramp up to 1.2 million tonnes of iron ore per month and to produce approximately 16-19 million tonnes of iron ore in 2019.

The expected EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss is at the lower end of the range Anglo previously guided of $300-400 million.

The company halted production at the mine after two leaks in March in the pipeline, which channels slurry more than 500 km (310 miles) from Minas Gerais state to the port in Rio de Janeiro state.

In November, a notice seen by Reuters showed the company expected the pipeline to be ready to receive iron ore from Minas-Rio by the end of that month, paving the way for a restart in December.

In its statement on Friday, Anglo American said the resumption of operations followed an extensive technical inspection and the replacement of a 4 km stretch of pipeline where the leaks occurred and other small sections where minor anomalies were discovered.

Anglo American has also shortened the intervals for future inspections to two years from five years and fitted a monitoring system to critical sections of the link.

“The extensive analysis confirmed the sound condition of the pipeline and we have taken a number of preventative measures to provide additional reassurance for the long term,” CEO Mark Cutifani said.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by David Evans)