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Vale gets OK to build steel plant

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 1 – Brazilian mining giant Vale Wednesday got the government\’s green light to build a three-billion-dollar steel plant in northern Para state, in the Amazon jungle, said company president Roger Agnelli.

"Our role is promote the growth of steel production in Brazil and to do that we\’re looking for the best technologies and processing methods," Agnelli said in a statement.

The new plant will have an annual output of two million metric tons, Vale said.

The steel mill building project includes a railway line to ferry iron ore from the company mines in Carajas to Paraupenas, a port town on the Tocantins river, it added.

Some 16,000 workers will be needed to build the facility, which will employ 5,300 people and provide indirect employment to 16,000 others when it is up and running, Vale said.

The plant is expected to be operational by November 2013.

Separately, Vale denied through a spokesman Japanese media reports it had agreed on a massive price increase on the iron ore it exports to Japan.

"Vale has made no announcement to the market. When Vale has something to announce, it will do so," said a company spokesman.

The Ashai Shimbun newspaper said the new price of Vale\’s iron ore would be 110 dollars per tonne for the April-June quarter, while the business daily Nikkei put the figure at 105 dollars and the Yomiuri daily said the price would be 106 dollars.

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Ore prices were down last year, off a record 77-79 dollars per tonne in 2008. Asian steelmakers were paying around 60 dollars per tonne under earlier annual contracts.

Negotiations on quarterly 2010 prices are set to be finalized by the end of next month.

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