Potassio do Brasil, partly owned by Canadian merchant bank Forbes and Manhattan, is seeking to renew negotiations with Brazil's government over rights to a potash reserve in the Amazon currently held by state oil company Petrobras adjacent to what it called a 'world class' potash discovery last week.
The Potassio do Brasil mine will take $4 billion to develop and follows news earlier this month from Toronto-listed Verde Potash which announced a 1.1 billion tonne resource at its Amazon Cerrado Verde project that is suitable for open pit mining.
The discoveries come as Brazil readies a new mining royalty regime – in certain instances doubling the rate – which would be managed by government decree. Mining investment in the world's fifth largest economy is also predicted to accelerate to $68.5 billion through 2015.
Potassio do Brasil says the discovery could eventually produce 4 million tonnes of potash-rich sylvinite ore and Reuters reports the company is also in the process of readying an initial public offering which it hopes to launch before the end of the year.
Founded as Amazon Mining in 2005, Verde Potash says it has at its Cerrado Verde project over 90 million tonnes of potassium oxide versus Brazil annual consumption of 4 million tonnes.
Brazil's mining institute Ibram expects $68.5 billion investments in the 2011-15 period, up more than 6% from the previous forecast of $64.4 billion. Ibram says political stability and high quality deposits have favoured Brazil's mining sector while a strong local currency, official red tape and uncertainty over the mining code are challenges.
Fox Business reports according to the system now under discussion, royalties charged on mineral sales in Brazil would vary according to global market prices, within a band that would specify a minimum and maximum royalty chargeable to be set by government decree. Analysts at Barclays Capital, BTG Pactual and elsewhere recently said they expect Brazilian iron-ore royalties to be doubled to 4%.