Source AP ©

CVRD can resume shipments as landless activists ended blockade

The blockade of a key iron-ore export railway came to an end, allowing miner CVRD to resume shipments.

The nearly 300 activists from the Landless Workers Movement, or MST, left the railway after state and federal authorities agreed to a meeting to discuss their demands, Para state police officer Jose Monteiro said by telephone.

The activists blocked the railway on Wednesday to pressure the company to fund social programs and give them a say in corporate decision-making.

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA, the world's largest iron ore miner, said in a statement the situation remained tense in the region because the MST members left the railway but stayed camped nearby.

It was the third time in less than a month that the protesters shutdown the railway at the Carajas mining complex. CVRD uses the railway to transport 250,000 metric tons (275,600 tons) of iron ore daily from its sprawling Amazon mine to Atlantic ports for shipment overseas.

The iron ore - the key ingredient in making steel - transported daily on the railway is worth US$11.2 million (7.6 million EUR), according to CVRD.

The railway also carries 1,300 local passengers and fuel shipments to small cities in rural Para state.

CVRD has invested heavily to boost production at its Carajas mining complex, but the railway that carries its ore to the Atlantic has been periodically shut down by protesters seeking concessions from CVRD and Brazil's government.

The mining company said it was confident "state and federal authorities would take the necessary measures to keep this illegal action from happening again."

CVRD was previously owned by Brazil's government but went private in the 1990s. Activists and left-wing politicians have recently being lobbying for the state to retake control of CVRD and other formerly state-owned companies.

Soaring iron ore prices have meant record profits at CVRD. The company recently posted third-quarter profits of US$2.6 billion (1.8 billion EUR).

CVRD's U.S. traded shares were up almost 1 percent at US$36.13 (24.64 EUR) on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

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