PDAC 2022 – Brazil – Agromineral and energy transition


The largest mining event in the world, PDAC – Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, which brings together several players of the sector, including geologists, engineers, companies, investors, banks, service suppliers, associations, representatives of countries and states, took place this June, after more than two years of suspension due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It holds meetings, debates, exhibitions, presentations, lunches, cocktails, dinners, always with the aim of promoting activities in the sector and generating new opportunities for investments.

Two points were highlighted at this year’s event, when it comes to Brazil: (i) Agrominerals and (ii) minerals to be used in the so-called Energy Transition.

The so-called Agrominerals are used to produce fertilizers, which are responsible for providing one or more nutrients to the plants and are associated with the implementation of new sources and technologies in plant nutrition to allow better productivity standards.

They are essential in the production of Brazil, country known as the “Barn of the world”, which is the world’s fourth largest producer of grains (rice, barley, soybeans, corn, and wheat) and responsible for 7.8% of total world production.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has brought to light (and with a great sense of urgency) the need to enhance mining activities of Potassium and Phosphate in Brazil, in addition to the diversification of supplier countries.

Brazil launched the National Fertilizer Plan earlier this year, with the aim of planning the fertilizer sector by 2050, promoting the development of national agribusiness.

Phosphate and potassium are two of the main inputs for agriculture that, together with nitrogen, make up the NPK fertilizer (N – Nitrogen; P – Phosphate and K – Potassium). According to data provided by the Brazilian Association of Fertilizer Mixers (Ama), Brazil imports 55% of the phosphate and 96% of the potassium. In 2020, the Geological Survey of Brazil (SGB-CPRM), a public company linked to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, completed research aimed at prospecting traditional inputs.

There is an expectation of increased demand for these inputs over the next decade. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, food production in Brazil is expected to increase by 27%, influenced by the resumption of China’s economy and government spending on recovery programs after the crisis caused by Covid-19.

Minerals used with technology were also protagonists of the prestigious event. On the energy transition side, the types of mineral resources used vary according to technology. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite are crucial to battery performance, longevity, and density. Rare earth elements are essential for permanent magnets that are vital for wind turbines and electric vehicle engines. Electricity networks need a lot of copper and aluminum, with copper being the cornerstone of all technologies related to the expansion of electricity.

Both themes have generated good expectations, being the object of studies, mining exploration and investments and will certainly benefit Brazil and the world, whether in food production or in the transition of energy use.