The 10 biggest foreign-owned mines in Brazil

Many of Brazil’s biggest mines are foreign owned and while recent years have seen changes in royalty and tax laws, both politicians and the public have demanded more indigenous ownership. Mining-technology.com profiles the ten biggest 100% foreign-owned mines in Brazil based on estimated value of the proven and probable reserves as of September 2014.


Chapadão (Ouvidor) phosphate mine

Barro Alto nickel mine - $12.62bn

Barro Alto open-pit nickel mine, wholly owned by Anglo American, is located in the Goias state of Brazil about 170km away from the company's Codemin nickel mining operation . It's proven and probable ore reserves stood at 45.3Mt (at an average grade of 1.55% Ni) containing 700,000t of nickel as of December 2013.

The Barro Alto nickel project was developed with an investment of $1.9bn and commenced production in March 2011. It produced 25,100t of nickel in 2013, a 16% increase over 2012.

The open-pit mine is expected to produce up to 36,000t of nickel per annum over its mine life of 26 years.

Chapada gold - copper mine - $12.11bn

The Chapada open pit gold-copper mine located in the Goiás state of Brazil and wholly owned by Canada-based Yamana Gold was estimated to contain 3.8 million ounces (Moz) of gold and 2.6 billion pounds (lb) of copper in proven and probable reserves as of December 2013.

Yamana began production from the Chapada mine in 2007. Ore extracted from the open-pit mine is processed at a nearby flotation plant capable of treating 22 million tonnes of ore annually.

Chapada produced 110,618oz of gold and 130.2 million pounds of copper in 2013, and has an estimated life of 18 years.

Paracatu gold mine - $11.63bn

Paracatu gold mine, estimated to contain 10.42Moz of gold reserves (grading at 0.42 g/t Au) as of December 2013, is located north of Paracatu city about 230km away from the capital city Brasília.

The open-pit gold mine operating since 1987 is 100% owned by Canada-based mining company Kinross Gold which purchased Rio Tinto's 51% stake in the mining operation in 2004.

Paracatu produced 500,380oz of gold in 2013 and is estimated to have operating life up to 2042. An expansion was undertaken in 2006 to increase the ore processing facilities at the mine from 18Mtpa to 61Mtpa and a new processing plant was commissioned in 2008.