Brazilian mining giant Vale has secured the installation environment license (LI) from the country’s Brazil's Environmental Protection Agency, for the $19.5bn expansion of its Serra Sul iron ore mine.

The proposed project, also known as Carajás S11D, is the highest grade and lowest cost project in the industry, the company said.

It comprises development of mine and processing plant ($8bn) and logistics ($11.58bn).

The LI is part of the project’s second phase of licensing, which authorizes the construction of the plant.

The project will have a nominal capacity of 90 million tons of iron ore per year (Mtpy), and is expected to begin production in H2 of 2016. It will deliver full capacity production in the 2018.