Rio de Janeiro — Vale’s latest acquisition bolsters the argument it has made for taking complete control of the shuttered Brazilian iron ore mine that it owns with BHP Group. Vale announced on Tuesday the purchase of technology firm New Steel for $500m as it aims to boost output of high-grade iron ore products that have been fetching premium prices. New Steel owns technology capable of improving production and waste storage at mines just like the Samarco joint venture with BHP. “Vale makes its case stronger given that they would be the ones bringing the technology to the table that would help Samarco come back in a more cost-effective manner,” said Andrew Cosgrove, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Vale, the world’s biggest producer of iron ore, plans to increase output of the high-grade iron product known as pellets, which is cleaner to process than cheaper grades of the mineral. Vale said it purchased New Steel to help improve pellet output in its southeastern mining sys...

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