(Adds comment from Anglo American)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Anglo American PLC on Friday clinched two long-awaited environmental licenses that pave the way for the global mining company to expand its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
Minas Gerais environmental regulator Semad granted a pre-installation and installation permit to the miner for the project, which would boost output capacity by about 56 percent, once the miner receives an additional operating permit.
Anglo American's Brazil Chief Executive Officer Ruben Fernandes said the licenses, which would permit the company to begin installation projects to access the ore, came at a critical time.
"We would actually only have ore until the end of the year, so that's why it's super important to have those licenses now," Fernandes said, adding that the expansion would allow the mine to operate for another 15 years. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira, Writing by Alexandra Alper; editing by G Crosse and Tom Brown)