Last decade, the growth of the Brazilian economy was driven mainly by the export of commodities, including, minerals. There was rapid expansion until 2011, and the iron ore was the principal mineral exported in virtue of the consumption linked to the steel industry activity, providing resources for the construction and automobile production.
Iron ore in Brazilian mining, according to US Geological Survey and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is higher than the Chinese. So even with a lower production, the steel potential is higher. Although the Chinese production is growing, exports maintain potential. The main reserves are in Minas Gerais, Pará, Bahia and Mato Grosso do Sul.
It is estimated that 5% of the world’s gold reserves are in Brazilian territory. In recent years, the increase in the income level of the population stimulated this metal’s consumption. Also, its use was extended in laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other electronics that present sales growth in recent years. Production increases in rates close to 10% per year, reaching more than 70T per year, but still represents less than 3% of the global amount. The largest reserves are in Pará, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso and Goiás. New market and with a wide range of opportunities, recycling gold is still at a preliminary stage, with just 10T recovered a year.
Brazil imports about 40% of the copper consumed. The demand for material is growing d is sustained by the construction, automobile industry, home appliances and energy-related products. With the resumption of growth, it is estimated that domestic production will be around 600.000 tons, with less than 25% copper content. Since the annual consumption is about 300.000 tons, there is a need for growth in production and processing. The largest reserves are in Pará and Goiás.
Brazil has 98% of world reserves of Niobium, and accounts for 92% of world exports to 70.000 tons a year. It is believed that the element is critical to the world for technological development which has lightness and refractory properties and is used in the production of steels and super alloys with special purposes used in rocket components. The largest reserves are in Minas Gerais, Amazonas and Goiás.