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Mining in Brazil: Brazilian mining industry set for growth

Mining in Brazil: Brazilian mining industry set for growth

One of the world's wealthiest countries in terms of natural resources, Brazil mines some 50 different minerals according to the national department of mineral production (DNPM). In addition to being flush with iron ore, Brazil holds sizeable reserves of gold and copper, as well as minerals used to make fertilizers, which are needed to keep up with the growing demand in the country's domestic agriculture industry. Mining companies based in Brazil are betting on continued high demand from China and the Brazilian market remaining attractive. According to national mining institute Ibram, investments totaling US$75 billion are planned in the Brazilian mining sector from 2012-2016, indicating the massive growth potential for exploration, development and production in the country.

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The Brazilian mining industry is suffering from government indecision over a new regulatory framework for the sector. The mining and energy ministry presented a draft bill to the president’s executive office in 2010, and the bill is still stalled in the senate. As a result, nearly 50,000 applications for exploration permits are on hold at the national mineral research department.

Iron ore
Brazil holds the world’s largest reserves of iron ore with some 29.6 billion tonnes of reserves, according to the DNPM. However, production lags behind, with 2011 output accounting for only 14.9% of world production of the metal (China produces 42.9%, and Australia produces 17.1%). This leaves plenty of room for development and production growth in Brazil.

Gold has emerged as one of the leading commodities in which to invest. Investors are wary of investing in traditional markets due to the economic downturn in the US and Europe, and the “hard commodity” has emerged as a way for investors to protect themselves against inflation. This is no different in Brazil, with gold leading the investment ranking for the country in 2012 for the third year in a row.

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