Brazilian mining major Vale has secured approval to expand exploration and raise production at an iron ore deposit in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The latest mining concession approval in Mariana municipality will allow 20 million tons of iron-ore production per year on deposits of 64.9 million tons.

Work on the 387-ha mining site must begin within six months from the date of publication of the permit, and cannot stopped for over six months at a time for the duration of the approval, according to a statement in Brazil’s official gazette.

Vale, in its first-quarter production report, said that output at Mariana declined by 5.2% year on year to 8.8 million tons primarily due to issues concerning approvals to exploit new mine sections.

The Brazilian government restarted the process of granting new permits in May, after a delay related to the ongoing changes to its current mineral legislation.