Brazil's EBX Group, owned by billionaire Eike Batista, may join the bidding for a new iron ore port area in Rio de Janeiro state, southeast Brazil, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said Tuesday, without saying where it got the information.
The port area, known as "Area do Meio" or "Middle Area," is expected to be put up for auction next month by the federally-owned port administrator Companhia Docas de Rio de Janeiro, Estado said.
The Area do Meio is sited at Itaguai between existing ports operated by mining company Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) and steelmaker and mining company Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA (SID, CSNA3.BR), or CSN. Companhia Docas recently said that the area is to be let out for port development to offer export access to companies producing iron ore at the Serra Azul mountain range in Minas Gerais state, which is linked to Itaguai by a railroad owned by companies including Vale, CSN and steelmaker Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA (USIM5.BR. USZNY), or Usiminas.
Earlier this year, Usiminas and steelmaker ArcelorMittal (MT, MT.FR, MT.AE) confirmed that they were in talks to form a consortium to participate in bidding for the port.
EBX group mining company MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA (MMXM3.BR) is currently developing an iron ore port at Itaguai capable of exporting 50 million metric tons a year of ore.
MMX will look at the details of the Area do Meio tender when the prospectus for the tender is published, the company told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday.
According to Barclays Capital, the Area do Meio terminal will entail investments of around 1.5 billion Brazilian reais ($785 million) and still needs to go through the full environmental licensing process.
The port's iron ore handling capacity should reach around 25 million tons a year, in a 25-year renewable concession, according to Barclays.
-By Diana Kinch, Dow Jones Newswires; 55 21 2586 6086; firstname.lastname@example.org