Niobium: Brazilian Mining’s Ace in the Hole


28th November 2018

By Jerry Haar and Cristina Caus
Fed up with high crime rates, massive corruption, and a poorly performing economy, Brazilians voiced their pleasure with the status quo by electing in October as president a right-wing congressman and ex-army captain from a very small nationalist and populist political party. Guided by a liberal ideology, supporting free market policies such as privatization and deregulation, Bolsonaro’s victory has been well-received by the private sectors both in Brazil and abroad.
Among the newly-elected president’s top priorities will be the development of the nation’s natural resources and the vigorous promotion of Brazil’s exports-good news for the country’s mining sector, but bad news for environmentalists and indigenous groups fearful of the continued destruction of natural resources and the displacement of tribes inhabiting the Amazon, in particular.
The importance of Brazil’s mining sector to the nation’s economy cannot be understated. The ninth largest country in the world, Brazil possesses huge reserves of bauxite iron ore, niobium and nickel and a leading producer of precious metals such as gold. Mineral products and mining account for 7 percent of Brazil’s GDP, if one includes mineral transformation, and 15 percent of all exports. Iron ore is the most important Brazilian export, enabling the country to earn revenue of approximately over $2.5 billion. Brazil is also the largest exporter of tin, …

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