Decision due in Brazilian niobium case

News Analysis




Decision due in Brazilian niobium case

Minas Gerais prosecutors have concluded a lengthy investigation into the impact of a niobium mining agreement in the Brazilian state. 

In mid-2013, prosecutors started the investigation into a partnership between state firm Codemig and CBMM. Codemig signed its partnership with CBMM, in the 1970s which was due to last until 2032.

Under the agreement, the two companies created a firm called Comipa which sells niobium ore from the mine in Araxá exclusively to CBMM, which in turn processes and sells it and transfers 25% of the profits to Codemig in the form of royalties. The decade-long investigation looked at whether the contract damages the state and details are due to be announced soon.

Meanwhile, Brazil exported 5,389t of ferroniobium in February, compared to 8,423t in January – according to official customs data. The drop is largely due to a 50% cut in exports to China. As would be expected, most exports (82%) were from CBMM.