(Bloomberg) — A mining project seen as a priority by the Brazilian government would turn the nation into a uranium exporter and reduce its fertilizer import needs if it proceeds.
Latin America’s largest economy, which currently imports uranium for its nuclear plants and ships in most of its fertilizer needs, will become more self-sufficient with a $400 million project in the nation’s impoverished northeast, according to the consortium formed to explore the deposit.
State-owned INB, which has a monopoly on uranium production in Brazil, formed a consortium with local fertilizer firm Galvani for the Santa Quiteria phosphate-uranium project. INB expects to extract about 2,100 metric tons of uranium a year from the deposit, while it needs roughly 750 tons to supply its nuclear energy plants.
Adding in nominal capacity at another deposit managed by INB, Brazil will produce about 2,400 tons of uranium ore concentrate a year when Santa Quiteria hits full capacity in 2026.
“That corresponds to 4% of the world’s uranium production,” Carlos Freire, president of INB, said in a telephone interview. “We can be a player with an interesting relevance.”
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