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CORRECTED-Brazil seizes 70,000 tonnes of illegally mined manganese

(Fixes headline to read 70,000 tonnes)

BRASILIA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brazil has seized 70,000 tonnes of illegally mined manganese that four companies were preparing to ship to China from a northern port and confiscated the ore valued at 60 million reais ($10 million), the country’s mining regulator said.

The National Mining Agency (ANM) said the seizure took place on Friday at Porto de Vila do Conde close to the city of Belem in northern Pará state.

The regulator named the four companies as Sigma Extração de Metais, Timbro Comércio Exterior, RMB Manganês and Chinvest Comércio Importação e Exportação and said they had no authorization to extract the manganese in southern Pará.

The manganese piled at the port will be auctioned and the companies taken to court, ANM said.

Manganese is usually found in combination with iron ore and is used to improve stainless steel. Brazil is a major producer and most of its ore is sold to China. ($1 = 5.6193 reais) (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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