Another huge and open iron mine is carved out of Brazil’s rain forest

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 04/13/2015

The line of trucks and four-wheel-drive pickups threw up clouds of red dust as it snaked up the hill on the wide dirt road. From the top, Brazilian rain forest stretched out into the distance. Before it, a vast quadrangle was being carved out of the slope by an army of machines, a scar of red earth in the green hills.

S11D, as this project is unceremoniously known, is an open-cast iron ore mine being dug out of this corner of the Brazilian Amazon, in the state of Para. Brazil’s mining giant, Vale, says the mine was designed for minimum environmental impact and maximum profitability. It is to start operating next year and by 2018 will be producing nearly 100 million tons annually of some of the purest iron ore in the world — a lifeblood for Brazil’s pallid economy.

But environmentalists argue that S11D could destroy rare savannah ecosystems found in two lakes on top of rich iron ore deposits. Dozens of caves that potentially contained evidence of ancient Amazon habitations have been lost. This grandiose $17 billion project is emblematic of a very contemporary, Brazilian dilemma: Can the country develop its rich natural resources without causing irreparable damage to its environment and history?

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New laws threaten Brazil’s unique ecosystems

Phys.org, 11/6/2014

Brazil’s globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to researchers publishing in the journal Science this week.

The new report by a group of Brazilian and British researchers comes in the wake of Brazil’s recent presidential elections. It warns that new legislation could pose a serious threat to protected areas, weakening Brazil’s international status as an environmental leader.

One of the proposals of particular concern is the call to open up 10% of the most strictly protected areas to mining. In a new analysis, the research shows that at least 20% of all Brazil´s most strictly protected areas and reserves for indigenous people overlap with areas that have been registered as under consideration for mining. In addition, many of the river systems associated with protected areas will be influenced by the construction of large hydroelectric dams.

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Most Brazilian Stocks Advance as Vale Rallies on Commodity Gain

Ney Hayashi – Bloomberg, 7/22/2014

Most Brazilian stocks climbed as higher commodity prices buoyed raw-material producers including mining company Vale SA.

The gauge for material stocks on the MSCI Brazil Index gained the most in a week. Trucking company JSL SA rose after saying gross sales increased 20 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-run oil company, fell amid speculation that a nine-session rally may have been excessive.

The Ibovespa was little changed at 57,644.02 at 12:05 p.m. in Sao Paulo, with 46 of its 70 stocks higher. The index rose 3.6 percent in the previous two sessions after a voter poll showed reduced support for President Dilma Rousseff’s bid for re-election amid a stalled economy.

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Brazil’s Vale rises on Chinese demand

Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 11/07/2013

Vale, the world’s second-largest miner by volumes, posted its first quarterly profit increase in more than two years as China’s steelmakers replenish stocks and the company’s aggressive cost-cutting plan starts to pay off.

The Brazilian company said late on Wednesday that net income had more than doubled from $1.64bn, or 32 cents per share, in the same period last year to $3.5bn, or 68 cents per share, in the third quarter.

It marked the first year-on-year profit increase for the iron ore producer since the second quarter of 2011 and beat an average estimate from analysts of 60 cents per share, according to Bloomberg.

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Focus and Lara sign agreement for the Caninde graphite project, Ciera State, Brazil

MarketWire/The Wall Street Journal, 06/04/2012

Focus Graphite Inc.CA:FMS 0.00% (otcqx:FCSMF)(frankfurt:FKC) (“Focus” or the “Corporation”) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Letter of Intent (the “Agreement”) with Lara Exploration Ltd. (“Lara”) for Lara’s wholly-owned Caninde graphite project located in Ceara State, northeastern Brazil.

The Caninde project comprises 11 registered exploration licenses and an additional six exploration licenses pending approval by the Brazilian Department of Mines (“DNPM”). The project covers a total surface area of 15,615 hectares and hosts 22 surface graphite occurrences discovered by Lara in mid-2011.

The occurrences define a 16 km long, north-northwest trending graphitic corridor in high-grade metamorphic rocks within the Project area. Individual graphite occurrences range in width from less than 1 m to maximum of 10 m and host from 1-2%, disseminated graphite in paragneiss and schist (mostly flakes) to over 50% graphite in narrow lenses in gneiss, schist, pegmatitic migmatites and in brecciated horizons in gneiss. Graphitic carbon contents for surface grab samples from 15 of the occurrences range from less than 1% to a high of 42.04 %. The project is accessible by road.

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Thyssen gets interest for Brazil, US plants report

Reuters/Mining Weekly, 06/04/2012

FRANKFURT – ThyssenKrupp has attracted interest from Brazil’s Vale and South Korea’s Posco for its struggling steel plants in Brazil and the US, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported.

Citing company sources, the magazine said Vale, which already owns 27% of the Brazilian plant CSA, would be interested in buying the rest of the joint venture, which has saddled Germany’s biggest steelmaker with heavy losses.

A Vale representative said on Saturday the company did not want to buy a controlling stake in any steel mill. But she did not rule out the company increasing its stake in CSA, so long as it did not become the majority stakeholder.

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Brazil’s Vale hiring thousands

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 04/09/2012

Sony of Japan might be laying off 10,000 in the months ahead, according to local business daily Nikkei.  But one natural resource behemoth in Brazil will add that much in a year, then triple it by 2015.

A slow Chinese economy won’t stop them. Lawsuits and tax liabilities in Brazil and Europe isn’t a problem for Brazilian mining company Vale. According to an article in Monday’s Folha de São Paulo, Vale is on a hiring binge and plans to hire around 10,000 people a year worldwide for the next three years.

Human Resources director at Vale, Vânia Somavilla, told Folha that they will hire 10,000 globally this year and around the same amount each year until 2015 as the company continues to build out new mines in Brazil and elsewhere.  Vale has around 134,000 employees around the world currently.  It is Brazil’s biggest mining company and the leading exporter of iron ore.

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Brazil politician presents ‘rival’ bill on mine royalties to Senate

Diana Kinch – Dow Jones, 10/18/2011

Brazilian Senator Aecio Neves has proposed to the country’s Senate new legislation for Brazil’s mining sector that would boost royalties for all minerals to 5% of companies’ gross sales, rivaling the government’s own plans for a new mine royalties law.

Neves’ bill is more advanced than the government’s plans for new legislation and will move to a first Senate committee vote next week after a public hearing later Tuesday, Brasilia-based mining sector sources said.

Mining royalties in Brazil are among the world’s lowest, although mining companies have a heavy burden of other taxes. According to Brazilian Mining Institute Ibram, royalties payable on sales of iron ore are currently 2%, on phospates 3% and potash 4.5%. For some industrial minerals, Neves’ proposal would quintuple existing mineral royalties.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Brazil

Raymond Colitt – Reuters, 10/03/2011

*It is worth noting that Rousseff’s approval rating remains very high at about 70 percent – and it rose again just last week, despite signs the economy is slowing. – Brian Winter, Chief Correspondent, Brazil, Reuters

President Dilma Rousseff’s biggest challenge in coming months will be to deal with growing discontent over persistent inflation and austerity measures as the fallout from global financial turmoil hits Latin America’s largest economy.

Rousseff will have to face rebellious allies wanting more government spending and a greater say in policies as well as unions demanding higher wages. Other challenges include rising inflation, currency volatility, and resistance to long-term structural reforms.

A FADING ECONOMY

Compared to many developed countries, Brazil’s expected 3.5 percent economic growth this year looks attractive. But after the boom under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, that culminated in last year’s dizzying expansion of 7.5 percent, it feels disappointing.

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