What steps do you believe should be taken to improve the competitiveness of Brazil’s mining sector?

The main challenge currently affecting the competitiveness of Brazil’s mining sector is the long delays in obtaining environmental licenses from authorities. While we have the internal capabilities to handle environmental issues and prepare effective EIA studies, many state environmental agencies lack the necessary expertise. This leads to an unpredictable licensing process that is costly for mining companies and exposes them to unnecessary risks. Given that mining is a global business closely connected to the international commodities market, delays can result in strategic failures for mining companies. Therefore, a concrete measure that could significantly enhance the sector’s competitiveness would be the adoption of a more rational and efficient environmental licensing process, specifically tailored to the constraints and characteristics of mining activity.

Another challenge facing the sector is the lack of reliable geological information, with less than 30% of Brazilian territory adequately mapped in the minimum scale of 1:100,000. As a result, the government needs to prioritize investments in geological studies and allocate sufficient resources to improve the availability of such information. This should be a core priority in terms of public policy, and a defined timeline should be set to ensure its implementation.

What is IBRAM’s position on the New Mining Code, and what amendments would you suggest for the current draft?

We are currently engaged in a lengthy discussion process that began last June when the President presented a bill of law to Parliament. We have some convergent views on certain aspects of the New Mining Code, particularly the legal security it provides to all previous mineral rights, which is highly welcome. We also appreciate the President’s decision to present the law proposal through Parliament, as this allows for greater stakeholder participation in the formulation process and avoids the immediate effects that a Provisional Law would have. We believe that the Parliament is the appropriate forum for discussing this crucial matter with Brazilian society, and we are confident that a participatory process will strengthen the proposal. We also support the creation of a National Mining Council, linked to the President and the National Mining Agency, which will replace the current DNPM. We believe that both measures will enhance the political status of Brazil’s mining sector.

How is IBRAM advocating for a more sustainable mining sector in Brazil?

Various studies and well-known sustainability publications have ranked Brazil’s mining sector among those with the best sustainability performance. For example, the magazine Análise Gestão Ambiental produced a special report for the Rio+20 Conference, analyzing the sustainability performance of 28 sectors in the Brazilian economy, based on 1,200 indicators and 840 company interviews. The mining sector was ranked first in terms of sustainability performance. However, we acknowledge that there are still challenges to be addressed, especially for small mining companies, for whom sustainability investments are still considered costs rather than investments. We also need to improve the general performance of the sector in terms of health and safety indicators. IBRAM is implementing various technical programs that aim to increase the overall performance of the mining sector, especially regarding cutting-edge issues such as climate change and water management. Our role is to facilitate the adoption of these practices by individual companies, recognizing that it may take some time for these innovations to be fully absorbed. We are also operating a traditional Health and Safety Program that focuses on risk management approaches, which is constantly bringing new ideas and pointing to new ways for mining companies to improve their performance in Brazil.

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