UPDATE 1-Vale CEO says Batista's MMX must honor railway deal
* MMX has "take-or-pay" iron ore contract with MRS railway
* Vale is main shareholder in MRS Logística railway
* Vale may soon break into U.S. iron ore pellet market
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL, Sept 24 (Reuters) - MMX, a mining company controlled by Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, should honor a contract to pay Brazil's MRS railway for iron ore shipments even if its mines are not ready to produce, Vale SA Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira said on Tuesday.
MMX Mineração e Metálicos SA has a take-or-pay contract with the MRS Logística SA railway to ship 36 million tonnes of iron ore a year through 2026 at 26.46 reais ($12.03) a tonne. The iron ore was to be shipped from MMX mines in Minas Gerais state to MMX's Sudeste Port near Rio de Janeiro.
The contract states MMX must pay for at least 80 percent of the total contracted volume starting in 2017 whether it actually ships the iron ore or not, according to MMX's website.
Vale owns 38 percent of MRS's voting stock and 42 percent of its total capital, making the Rio de Janeiro-based miner the railway's largest shareholder.
MMX has slowed development of the Minas Gerais iron ore projects in the wake of Batista's financial problems and the resulting difficulties at MMX and other companies in his EBX mining, energy, shipbuilding and port-operations group.
As a result of its difficulties, MMX has sought to renegotiate the MRS contract and other accords with suppliers. Continuación...