Brazil's World Cup of mining

In mining, just as in football, Brazil is a serious global player that deserves and receives major attention, yet off the pitch the country has not managed to reach the elite level in terms of performance.
Brazil's World Cup of mining Brazil's World Cup of mining Brazil's World Cup of mining Brazil's World Cup of mining Brazil's World Cup of mining

As the world will see over the coming weeks Brazil is a country that, regardless of its myriad problems and complex trajectory of development, can certainly pull off a hell of a party.

For the mining sector, far from the stadia of the World Cup and bright lights of Carnaval, Brazil is a serious global player that deserves and receives major attention, but has underperformed compared to other major players.

Sure, Brazil is at the top end of the table across a range of minerals for both production and reserves, however, unlike on the football pitch, the country is yet to arrive even close to its full potential. And, unfortunately, the current state of play suggests this won´t be changing anytime soon.

While Brazil is about as primed as possible to win its sixth World Cup, her mining sector is not even in the finals, having been knocked out in the qualifying phase by an African, or was it an Asian up-and-comer?

In recent years investors have held off and even shied away from the market, principally because of drawn out changes to Brazil´s mining regulations, which have created significant doubt across a range of key factors, including royalties and licensing.

The proposed new laws have been under consideration since before the 2010 South African World Cup and will likely take another 12 months to be finalised. Only then will Brazilian mining have a chance of vying for champion status.

I repeat - a chance. Even without the worries of shifting legislation, the general business environment in Brazil remains another major barrier for the country´s mining sector, as does the infrastructure network.

A presidential election later this year may result in better conditions for doing business in the country, and for mining, but this is in no way a certainty. A Brazilian World Cup win may even scuttle any hopes of such improvement.

Yet for all the negativity of the present moment, Brazilian mining undoubtedly has the pedigree and could mount a turnaround over the coming years.

You could almost say that, like a former world-class team that has just fired its coach and lost its main striker, Brazilian mining has hit rock bottom and that things can only improve from here.

Heck, if the new code suffers no more setbacks, pleases the majority of stakeholders and is accompanied by an increasingly favourable business environment, Brazilian mining may well struggle through its next qualifying phase.

It is possible, and Brazil´s mining sector could certainly join its national football team as a world class performer by Russia 2018. Those keen to profit from such a campaign would do well to get their bets in early, as the odds will no doubt shorten as Brazilian mining climbs the rankings.

Simon Tarmo is the Brazilian General Manager for Aspermont Limited, publisher of Mining News Brazil (Notícias de Mineração Brasil,


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