I OVERVIEW

Brazil offers considerable geological diversity and is one of the greatest mineral powerhouses in the world. The country is a major player, being globally ranked as follows as a producer of:

  • a niobium: first;
  • b tantalite: second;
  • c iron ore: third;2
  • d graphite: third;
  • e bauxite: third;
  • f vermiculite: third;
  • g ornamental stones: fourth; and
  • h kaolin; fifth.

Brazil exports nickel, magnesite, manganese, tin, chromium and gold. It is self-sufficient in limestone, industrial diamonds, talc, titanium and tungsten, and it produces and imports copper, diatomite, phosphate and zinc.

The trade balance for mining is always larger than the country’s overall trade balance. In 2013, the trade balance for mining (US$31.967 billion) was at least 12.5 times greater than the overall trade balance (US$2.56 billion). In 2014, the trade balance for mining was US$26,35 billion and the overall trade balance of the country was US$4.036 billion (negative). In 2015, the trade balance for mining, even during a moment of serious crisis, was US$15.194 billion. The trade balance for mining in 2016 was US$15.3 billion.

Despite such geological and economic potential, Brazilian mineral production has been systematically falling. It stood at US$53 billion in 2011, US$48 billion in 2012, US$44 billion in 2013, US$40 billion in 2014 and US$26 billion in 2015. Brazilian mineral production in 2016 was US$ 24 billion.

II LEGAL FRAMEWORK

As a result of the paramount role mining plays in Brazil, the essential structure of the legal regime governing mining is defined in the Federal Constitution.3 Brazil is a federal republic composed of 26 states and the Federal District, but the power to enact laws on mining4 is exclusively held by the Union (Federal Government).

Administrative competency with regard to mining (grants, monitoring and sanctions) is exercised by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and by the National Mining Agency, a federal quasi-government agency. There is mineral administrative competency for the states only for the purposes of inspection, but this is not exercised in practice.

The legal regime governing mining in Brazil is spread among different levels of regulation: the rules are established in the Federal Constitution, in the Mining Code (a law in the strict sense of the word), in the laws that govern some classes of mining rights, and in various regulations, principally those issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Mining Agency. There are other regulations that can also indirectly apply to mining, such as foreign trade, work in underground mines, tax and sanitation rules related to mineral water, and the rules governing the purchase of land by foreign-owned companies.

The regime is a mixed system and covers the acquisition of mining rights through the priority regime, a separate bidding system for mining,5 and activities in strategic areas called national reserves. Within this system, the following form the core of the Brazilian mining legal regime:

  • a the Union has a sovereign right over mineral resources and deposits and controls all stages of their development;
  • b mining must be carried out in the national interest;
  • c there is a legal separation between ownership of the land and the mineral wealth contained in it;
  • d mining is a public utility activity;
  • e only Brazilians or companies founded in accordance with Brazilian laws, with headquarters and management in Brazil can mine;
  • f the Union has the power to grant mining titles, and to monitor and sanction them;
  • g guarantee of the right of priority;
  • h guarantee of a single holder for each mining right;
  • i the grant of the mining concession is a natural consequence of a valid application in a unrestricted area with a positive final exploration report;
  • j mining companies are guaranteed ownership of the product of the mining;
  • k there will be a charge for occupation during the exploration phase;
  • l there must be a commitment to the performance of the Economic Development Plan;
  • m environmental sustainability is one of the attributes of the mine;
  • n landowners will receive a share of the product of the mining; and
  • o right to a fair indemnification for the mining title holder in cases in which government measures hinder or make it unfeasible to develop the mineral deposits that are the object of the administrative mining procedure.

III MINING RIGHTS AND REQUIRED LICENCES AND PERMITS

i Title

According to the Federal Constitution, the Union has control over mineral activity, which requires prior consent of the Ministry of Mines and Energy or of the National Mining Agency.

Although the Federal Constitution uses the expression ‘belongs to the Union’, there is discussion in the legal doctrine regarding the juridical nature of this relationship between the Union and these resources and mineral deposits. This means that it is not a classic relationship of ownership, as known under civil and administrative laws, but rather, a relationship of sovereignty that gives the Union the power of granting, regulation and control.

Mining companies will invest, take risks, and, if they are successful, identify deposits that will then be under the control of the Union; however, they are assured ownership of what is mined. Undiscovered mineral deposits have no value; therefore, since the Union cannot afford to invest, it needs private investors to do so. Another interesting point is that mining activities around the world have not led to the exhaustion or reduction of mineral reserves. In fact, exactly the opposite has occurred: discovery of deposits leads to more investment, which, in turn, leads to the discovery of new deposits. So, even in the face of intensive exploration, the stock of mineral reserves has been increasing considerably.

ii Surface and mining rights

There is a legal separation between ownership of the land and the ores contained in it, that is, underground or outcropped.

Under the Mining Law, there are four ways to acquire mining rights:

  • a original acquisition, when the mining company is the first to make an application in a unrestricted area;
  • b acquisition in specific bidding procedures for the mineral sector offered by the National Mining Agency (availabilities);6
  • c acquisition of mineral rights in National Reserve areas; and
  • d acquisition of existing third-party mining rights.
Types of mining right

Brazilian legislation establishes the following mining rights:

  • a exploration authorisations and mining concessions (a double title within the same administrative proceeding);
  • b claimstake mines;
  • c mineral licensing; and
  • d the small-scale mining consent regime.
Juridical nature of the mining rights in Brazil

It is correct to say that, where Brazilian Mining Law is concerned, there is no relationship between the juridical nature of exploration consent (authorisation) as it is used in the Federal Constitution and in the Mining Code, and the general administrative act known as autorização, as it is used in broad terms in administrative law.

In the same context, it is correct to say that there is no relationship between the juridical nature of exploitation consent (mine concession) as it is used in the Federal Constitution and in the Mining Code, and the general administrative contract known as concessão, as it is used in broad terms in administrative law.

The same can be said for mineral licensing and small-scale mining.

Exploration consent (authorisation) and exploitation consent (mining concession)

Any substance (except radioactive minerals or minerals used to generate nuclear energy)may be developed under authorisations and concessions, which are granted in the same administrative proceeding. The exploration authorisation is always granted for a certain period.

Mining concessions are granted without a pre-established term, and are linked to the depletion of the deposit. The grant is made through an administrative act published in the Official Gazette of the Union.

Claimstake mines

The claimstake mine is a class of mining rights under which the holders retain ownership of the deposit. This mining right was created in 1934, as a result of the transition from the accession regime to the concession regime, when legal separation between ownership of the land and the mineral wealth contained therein began. Under the Federal Constitution and the Code of Mines of 1934, those who already held mining rights were grandfathered in under the same conditions. The only claimstake mines now in existence are those remaining from that time.

Mineral licence

Mineral licensing has the following characteristics:

  • a it is used for the development of substances for immediate use in civil construction and other minerals;7and
  • b it applies to an area under 50 hectares.

Generally speaking, the mineral-licensing regime does not require preliminary exploration.

Small-scale mining consent

Small-scale mining consent is the regime that allows immediate development of a mineral deposit that, due to its nature, size, location and economic use, can be developed without the need for preliminary exploration work.

Minerals subject to small-scale mining are gold, diamonds, cassiterite, columbite, tantalite and wolframite in alluvial, elluvial and colluvial forms; scheelite, other gemstones, rutile, quartz, beryl, muscovite, spodumene, lepidolite, feldspar, mica and others, in types of occurrence that may be indicated at the criteria of the National Mining Agency.

The term is five years, which may be renewed.

Acquisition of mining rights

In addition to the normal documents that show the legal capacity of the applicant, in the exploration phase the application must be accompanied by an exploration plan, and in the development phase, it must be accompanied by an economic development plan.

Administrative mining proceedings in Brazil are very slow, principally due to the double-title system for the authorisation–concession regime (which is responsible for more than 90 per cent of the mineral GDP), the lack of structure of the public administration and the obstacles that must be faced to obtain the environmental licence.

The Mining Code does allow assignment of mining rights, and this is a common procedure in Brazil; however, mining rights can only be assigned to those with the legal and economic capacity to acquire these rights.

Assignment of mining rights requires the prior consent of the Union through the National Mining Agency.

The following activities are governed by special laws outside the Mining Code:

  • a deposits of mineral substances that constitute a government monopoly (petroleum, gas and substances for nuclear energy);
  • b mineral or fossil substances of archaeological interest;
  • c mineral or fossil specimens intended for museums, teaching establishments and other scientific purposes;
  • d mineral waters in the development phase; and
  • e underground water deposits.
Ownership of the land and mining rights

Considering the legal separation between ownership of the land and the ore contained therein, mining companies can hold mining rights without purchasing the land or receiving consent from the landowner. There are, therefore, mechanisms that enable mining companies to occupy land belonging to third parties, in the event of an impasse.

There is a specific judicial procedure within the exploration phase by which to assess the amount due to the landowner or possessor, being income for occupation and reimbursement for possible damages.

In this situation, during the mining phase (until beneficiation) the most appropriate instrument to be used, established in the Mining Code, is the mineral easement. For other situations, such as manufacturing of the mineral product or pipelines, the most common instrument utilised is the general administrative easement.

Mining is considered to be a public utility activity – a very important attribute in overcoming resistance by landowners.

Legal restrictions exist on the acquisition of rural land by foreigners or foreign-owned Brazilian companies. The basic rules are as follows:

  • a acquisition of the rural land must be linked to the implementation of agricultural, ranching, industrial or settlement projects related to the company’s social purpose;
  • b the sum of the rural areas belonging to foreigners, including foreign-owned Brazilian companies, of any nationality, may not exceed 25 per cent of the surface area of the municipality; and
  • c individuals or legal entities, or foreign-owned Brazilian companies, of the same nationality, may not own more than 40 per cent of the total amount of 25 per cent of the area of the municipality in which acquisition by foreigners is allowed.

There are no restrictions on the acquisition of urban real estate for foreign-owned companies.

Restrictions on surface or mining rights

Mining on indigenous lands is allowed under the Federal Constitution of 1988, but has not yet been regulated by the National Congress. As a result, there is no organised and regular mining on indigenous lands in Brazil. It is also allowed in the old quilombo areas, in spite of the additional difficulty surrounding environmental licensing of the activity in these locations.

Mining is also allowed in border zones.8 Companies need prior consent from the National Defence Council for this purpose, with the exception of companies that work with minerals for immediate use in civil construction.

To act in the border zone, mining companies must meet the following requirements, in addition to the general requirements for mining in Brazil:

  • a at least 51 per cent of the capital must belong to Brazilians;
  • b at least two-thirds of the workforce must be Brazilian; and
  • c the administration or management must be carried out by a majority of Brazilians, to whom the predominant powers are assured.
Legal nature of administrative mining acts

According to traditional doctrine, classic authorisations in administrative law are those discretionary and temporary administrative acts. The theory followed by Brazilian legal scholars, however, is that the administrative mining act called (improperly) ‘authorisation’ is, in reality, a ‘consent for mineral exploration’ with specific attributes, and with the characteristics of a binding administrative act.

In Brazil, the mining concession does not have the same attributes as the classic concession in administrative law. It is not formalised by an administrative contract (but by publication of the administrative act in the Official Gazette). It is not for a certain time, nor is it preceded by a bidding procedure.

This same interpretation can be made for the other regimes (licensing and permission).

iii Additional licences and permits necessary for mineral activities

Mining companies basically need three types of permit to mine:

a a mining right granted by the National Mining Agency or by the Ministry of Mines and Energy;

  • b environmental licences and other environmental permits (deforestation licences to intervene in the Atlantic Forest, licences to intervene in natural caves etc.); and
  • c consent of the municipality, which will only evaluate the compliance of the mineral activity with the municipal legislation.
iv Closure and remediation of mining projects

The measures to properly close mines and to mitigate or remediate the damage caused by mining are established in both mineral and environmental legislation.

From the start of the undertaking, mining companies must state how they intend to close the mine. This information, contained in the economic development plan and the mine closing plan, is continually updated. An interesting aspect is that, today, less attention is paid to the closing of the mine, and more to the future use of the mined area.

In Brazil, environmental insurance is still not mandatory, nor must provisions be made to pay for the costs associated with the mine closing or remediation of the environmental damages. However, there is a tendency towards this, and there are several bills being discussed that would make this insurance mandatory.

IV ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

i Environmental, health and safety regulations

In regard to environmental matters, the Federal Constitution establishes that the power to legislate is shared among the Union, the states and the Federal District. Municipalities may pass legislation on matters related to local interest, including for environmental matters. Administrative environmental competency is shared among the Union, the states, federal district and the municipalities.

Environmental protection is given a separate chapter in the federal Constitution and in all the state constitutions.

Environmental laws can be classified as general or specific to mining. Examples of general laws are the National Environmental Policy Law, the Forest Code, the National Water Resources Policy Law and the National Solid Waste Policy Law. In relation to mining, the specific rules cover mineral activity in special environmentally protected areas (conservation units, such as parks, and areas of permanent preservation, such as the banks of waterways).

There are also fairly strict laws governing occupational health and safety. There are also generic rules and other specific rules, such as the Mining Regulation Rules.

ii Environmental compliance

Generally, environmental licensing is carried out by the environmental bodies of the states. The exceptions are licensing by the municipalities or by the federal environmental agency - IBAMA.

In Brazil, the system in effect requires three separate environmental licences: the preliminary licence, which is the most important because it attests to the environmental feasibility of the project, the installation licence and the operating licence.

The general rule is that environmental licensing begins with the preliminary environmental licensing.

As three separate environmental licences are required, the entire environmental licensing process is quite time-consuming. Besides the difficulties inherent to the environmental licensing process, there are also difficulties resulting from gaps in the environmental legislation, the lack of structure of the environmental agencies, thoughtless interference by the Public Attorney’s Office and the proliferation of opportunistic non-governmental organisations (NGOs), all of which tend to delay environmental licensing.

iii Third-party rights
Mineral aspects

The Mining Code states that miners and mining companies are exclusively liable for damage that their activities cause to third parties.

This prevents the Union from being sued in the event that the activity causes harm to a third party, but an exception occurs when the government is negligent. In this case, an inefficient public entity can be sued together with the miner or mining company.

Environmental aspects

In general, miners and mining companies are exclusively liable for damages that their activities cause to third parties, not only in a diffuse aspect, but also in relation to individual damages.

Here, there is also an exception, and the party harmed may sue the government, if there has been any omission that has contributed to causing the damage or harm.

Indigenous rights

The law protects the rights of indigenous people. Mining on indigenous lands technically depends on a special law and authorisation of the National Congress. In light of the absence of actual law and lack of regulation governing how this authorisation could be given, there is, however, no regular mineral activity on indigenous lands.

The intent of lawmakers was to protect non-acculturated Indians and their lands. This has, however, led to a situation in which many unscrupulous people declared themselves to be Indian, in light of the complacency of the agency responsible for this control. This has led to many problems, not just for mining, but also for farmers and lumber companies.

The federal Constitution states that when mineral activity on indigenous lands is regulated, the indigenous peoples will be entitled to a share of the mining taking place on their lands.

Another Brazilian characteristic related to indigenous lands deserves mention. These are the demarcations made without any technical criteria, under pressure by demagogic interests or pressure from NGOs. To give an example, in the state of Roraima, demarcated indigenous lands occupy at least 46.37 per cent of its territory.

Quilomba communities

Quilombolas are the remnants of the quilombolo communities. These are ethnic-racial groups with their own unique history, which have specific territorial relations and a presumption of African ancestry. Brazilian legislation has a curious feature in that recognition of a person as quilombola is through self-declaration, which has led to a great deal of abuse.

In projects in which there is a possibility of interference with quilombo lands or in which there are elements that could cause direct socio-environmental harm inside the quilombola community, this matter will be analysed in the environmental licensing procedure.

In the event that quilombola families are displaced, the mining company must submit indemnification proposals, in accordance with the rules stipulated by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organisation, which was ratified by Brazil.

iv Additional considerations

There is a growing industry created by NGOs and entities that supposedly have environmental or social purposes. Many of these entities, which claim to be environmental or social, depend on government funds to survive.

There are hundreds of domestic and foreign NGOs that act in Brazil without any control or regulation. In fact, it is clear that they do not have environment concerns, but financial or political interests.

V OPERATIONS, PROCESSING AND SALE OF MINERALS

i Processing and operations

The Mining Code states that mining is the set of operations intended to provide industrial use of deposits, from extraction to beneficiation.

Foreign labour in mining follows the general rules for other activities. There are no specific rules or restrictions.

Since the Federal Constitution requires that mining companies be founded in accordance with Brazilian law and have headquarters and management in the country, foreign managers must reside in Brazil and have a specific work visa.

ii Foreign investment

There are no restrictions on movement of capital specifically with regard to mining. It is sufficient for companies with foreign capital to meet the requirements established in Article 176 of the Federal Constitution (be founded in accordance with Brazilian law, and have headquarters and management located in Brazil).

VI CHARGES

i Royalties

In broad terms, mineral activity is subject to the same fiscal regime as other activities, but there are specific financial obligations for mining.

Financial compensation for exploiting mineral resources

Financial compensation for exploiting mineral resources (CFEM) is compensation that must be paid to the Union, resulting from the activity of mining, of a non-tax nature.

However, on 26 July 2017, a rule was published, which is still pending approval by the National Congress, and which established calculation of the royalty on the gross revenue taxable base, allowing deduction only of taxes paid in the sale of the ore.

This same rule establishes that mining companies make transfer pricing adjustments when they calculate the royalties and when they export the mineral commodities to legal entities that are affiliated or located in tax havens.

In the event of consumption, transformation or use of the ore by the holder of the mineral, the taxable base is considered to be the production cost. This base was increased by the same rule mentioned above, which requires in these cases that the royalty be calculated over the market value, according to the methodology defined by the National Mining Agency.

Until November 2017, the CFEM rates varied depending on the mineral exploited, as follows. According to Law No. 8.001/90, the percentages were:

  • a aluminum ore, manganese, rock salt and potassium: 3 per cent;
  • b iron, fertiliser, coal and other mineral substances: 2 per cent;
  • c gold: 1 per cent, when extracted by mining companies, with exemption for small-scale miners; and
  • d precious stones, lapidable coloured stones, carbonados and precious metals: 0.2 per cent.

At the closing of this chapter, there was a proposal presented to alter the base and rates of financial compensation to the Union. As a result of this, the rates will be altered, notably to increase the royalty on the development of gold, diamonds, niobium and iron ore, and it will be reduced for substances directly used in civil construction.

The rates for mineral substances in general are as follows:

  • a gold and diamonds, when mined under the small scale mining consent regime, other precious stones and lapidable colored stones: 0.2 per cent;
  • b rocks, sands, gravels, clays and other mineral substances when intended for immediate use in civil construction: 1.5 per cent;
  • c gold and other mineral substances, except iron ore, for which the rate will be defined based on the international product price: 2 per cent;
  • d bauxite, manganese, diamonds, niobium, potassium and rock salt: 3 per cent; and
  • e there is an interesting proposal for iron ore, in which the percentage varies according to the ore price on the international market.

Iron ore rates

Rate

International price in US$/ton (according to the Platts Iron Ore Index – Iodex)

2 per cent

price < 60.00

2.5 per cent

60.00 < price < 70.00

3 per cent

70.00 < price < 80.00

3.5 per cent

80.00 ≤ price < 100.00

4 per cent

price > 100.00

As mentioned, the alterations proposed in 2017 need to be validated by the National Congress.

Annual fee per hectare

The annual per-hectare fee is owed by the holder of the exploration authorisation until the final exploration report is submitted. Within the original term of the exploration authorisation, the amount works out at a minimum of 3 reais per hectare, according to a Bill before the legislature at the time this chapter was written.

This requirement ends with the filing of the final exploration report.

Participation of the landowner in the result of the mining

One of the expenses associated with mining is to pay the landowner a share of the result of the mining (PPRL). The landowner is entitled to this share of the results of the mining simply for owning the land with exploitable mineral substance, even without making any investment. This is a legal requirement that has been in effect since 1967, which compensates the landowner for the loss of the right of preference to mine on his or her land. The amount is equivalent to half the rates of the CFEM referred to above.

ii Tax

In general, mining activities are subject to the same taxes as other activities, except for the fees collected by some states, and beginning in 2018, by the Union, as a result of the monitoring of the mining companies.

Mining Activity Monitoring Fee

Beginning in January 2018, the National Mining Agency will charge mining companies a fee ranging from 500 to 5,000 reais for each mining right held. The amount will vary according to the phase of the mining proceeding (exploration to the development concession).

On the other hand, the states of Minas Gerais, Pará, Amapá, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás created similar fees, collected at fixed rates over the volume of tons of ore sold.

Tax on profits

Taxes on profits are the corporate income tax and the social contribution on net income, the rates of which, added together, can reach 34 per cent.

Tax on circulation of goods and services

The rates of tax on circulation of goods and services (ICMS) in internal operations can vary from 17 per cent to 19 per cent. In interstate operations, the rates can vary from 7 per cent to 12 per cent.

Social Integration Programme and contribution to financing of social security

Together, the rates for the Social Integration Programme (PIS) and the contribution to the financing of social security (COFINS) are 9.25 per cent with the right to deduct credits, or 3.65 per cent without the right to the credits.

Property taxes

The property taxes are the rural real estate tax on rural real estate, and the urban real estate tax on real estate in urban areas.

iii Duties

Imports of goods and services are subject to import tax, ICMS, PIS and COFINS. Nonetheless, there are several federal and state benefits that can substantially reduce the tax rates on the import of capital goods, or suspend or defer their application.

iv Other fees

Owners of land occupied by mineral activities are entitled to three types of payment:

  • a for income and damages that the mineral activity causes in the exploration phase;
  • b indemnification for the mineral easement, equivalent to the time of use and damages caused to the property, during the mining phase; and
  • c the PPRL, referred to above, only if there is ore on the property and when it is mined and sold.
Incentives for export

There are incentives for ore export, such as the non-levying of ICMS, PIS and COFINS, with maintenance of the credits of these taxes assured in relation to previous operations, due to the principle of non-accumulation.

In the case of ICMS, use of the credits accumulated as a result of exports is principally through their transfer to other establishments of the mining company in the same state, or to third parties through prior authorisation of the tax authorities.

It should be noted that the states normally make it difficult to use the accumulated credits, which can lead to unusable credits. This fact has led to many lawsuits by mining companies in order to enable them to use these credits, which are assured by the Constitution.

Ore exports

Ore exports to affiliated companies located abroad are subject to transfer pricing rules and, in the case of commodities, the parameter prices used are their prices on internationally recognised commodities exchanges.

Environmental compensation

Brazilian law establishes several types of environmental compensation to be paid by mining projects that have the potential to cause significant environmental impact, or due to the removal of highly protected environmental assets.

There is no environmental compensation specific to mining.

Environmental compensation as a result of significant environmental impact

Environmental compensation is owed by projects with the potential to cause significant environmental impact, as verified in a preliminary environmental impact study. This compensation is to support the implementation and maintenance of the environmental unit of the Full Protection Group, with the amount to be defined according to the size of the project and the degree of its environmental impact.

Environmental compensation for intervention in the Atlantic Forest

The right to cut or remove primary or secondary vegetation in the medium or advanced stages of regeneration of the Atlantic Forest biome is conditional upon environmental compensation. This is done by allocating to the environmental agency an area equivalent to that which is deforested, with the same ecological characteristics, in the same watershed, and whenever possible, in the same micro-watershed.

If environmental compensation is not possible, the forest will have to be replanted, with native species in an area equivalent to the area that was deforested, whenever possible in the same micro-watershed.

Speleological environmental compensation

Speleological compensation is owed for projects that cause an irreversible negative impact on underground caverns classified as having a high degree of relevance.

Other environmental compensations

Since the power to enact environmental laws is shared by the Union, the states and Federal District (and municipalities can also enact laws regarding environmental matters of local interest), it is possible that other environmental compensation may be created by the states. For example, compensation may be payable for the removal of trees that are protected from being cut down by law, as in Minas Gerais, the largest mineral producer within Brazil.

VII OUTLOOK AND TRENDS

Besides the economic and institutional crisis, the mineral industry has been suffering as a result of a variety of circumstances that go beyond the commercial and geological risk that are normal in this activity.

In despite of the efforts of the current administration, the mineral industry was particularly affected by the many years of lack of mineral and environmental policy and chronic inefficiency of the public administration.

In August 2017, at time of writing, three bills were before the National Congress, seeking to increase the rates of financial compensation for mineral development (owed to the Union), as showed above, alterations to the Mining Code and alteration to the structure of the public mining administration.

No alterations are planned for the system of priority and the terms of the exploitation concessions, which are granted in Brazil through administrative acts (no public contracts) and over an undetermined period of time, linked to the depletion of the mineral deposit.

1 William Freire is founder and managing partner of William Freire Advogados Associados.

2 With Vale SA being the largest individual producer.

3 Article 176 of the Federal Constitution.

4 That is, on deposits, mines and other mineral and metallurgical resources.

5 These are areas that the government normally receives back as a result of a declaration of forfeiture or waiver of the mining company and are offered for development (exploration or mining) through the electronic bidding system known as ‘availability’.

6 These are mining rights that go back to the Union as a result of waiver or loss.

7 I – Sand, gravel and clay for immediate use in civil construction, in the preparation of aggregates and mortars that are not submitted to an industrial beneficiation process, and are not used as raw material in the transformation industry;

II – rocks and other mineral substances, when used for paving stones, guard-rails, curbs, rails and similar purposes;

III – clay used in the manufacture of red ceramics; and

IV – rocks, when crushed for immediate use in civil construction and limestone used to correct agricultural soils.

8 The border zone is an internal strip, 150 kilometres wide, running parallel to the country’s land border.