July 13, 2010 / 4:41 PM / in 7 years

Vale starts production at Peru phosphate mine

* Mine will formally open in August

* Annual capacity of 3.9 million tonnes phosphate rock

LIMA, July 13 (Reuters) - Brazilian mining giant Vale (VALE.N) said on Tuesday it started production at its Bayovar phosphate mine in northern Peru.

The mine, which will formally open in August, has annual capacity of 3.9 million tonnes of phosphate rock. Vale began the project in 2007 and total investments are estimated at $566 million.

The company said exports from the mine will mainly be sent to Brazil, where demand for fertilizers is growing.

Vale has phosphate or potash projects in Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Mozambique. It also recently acquired fertilizer companies. (Reporting by Terry Wade; Editing by Walter Bagley)

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