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Brazil signs accord with Japan to develop niobium potential

Bnamericas Published: Monday, January 11, 2021
Brazil signs accord with Japan to develop niobium potential

The Brazilian government signed a cooperation agreement with Japan to implement new technologies to boost production of niobium and graphene in the South American country.

"This will allow for the exchange of information for experiments and prototypes and the exploration of niobium or graphene applications that can add value to products and the production chain," Brazil’s mines and energy ministry said in a release. 

"The instrument also provides for the exchange of experiences and partnerships with the involvement of the private sector in research and development," it added. "In addition, it will be able to address technologies, experiences, good practices and sustainability and environmental protection programs applicable to mineral exploration; mining; recycling technologies related to niobium or graphene; and technologies for recovering metallic substances from waste electrical and electronic equipment." 

Brazil has rich resources of niobium, which is used in steel and superconductor production. 

Local company CBMM, controlled by the Moreira Salles family, which also holds a 33.5% stake in Brazil’s largest private sector bank Itaú Unibanco, supplies 82% of global niobium production.

The development of niobium has been a focus of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, which says the metal could help the country diversify its mining sector, which is very concentrated on iron ore.

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