The decision to complete the equity transaction prior to the signing of the project financing is a major milestone for the NLC as it demonstrates Vale’s confidence on the progress of the project financing, the company said. If the signing of the project financing is not achieved by the end of December, Mitsui has certain rights to transfer their participation in the Moatize coal mine and the NLC back to Vale.

Mitsui will pay $255 million for a 14% stake in the Moatize mine; $350 million for half of Vale’s 70% share in the Nacala project, which includes railway and port infrastructure; and $165 million in a long-term loan for the NCL. Mitsui could contribute an additional $195 million if certain conditions are met, such as mine performance. Vale will retain an 81% share in the Moatize mine. The company has invested $2.1 billion in the operation, and achieved commercial production in 2016 with the startup of the coal handling and processing plant.