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Brazil mining royalties jump 40% to record high

Brazilian flag at Praça dos Três Poderes in Brasília. (Wikimedia Commons)

Even with Vale (NYSE: VALE) posting this week a loss of $1.68 billion in 2019, Brazil set a record on royalties received from mining companies.

Brazil received $1.03 billion in mineral royalties in 2019, according to the Brazilian Mining Agency. The royalties paid by mining companies were 48.3% or $700 million, higher than the previous year and 145% higher than 2017, when the government changed the way it charges the mining sector.

Until 2017, royalties were charged on net billing, discounting transportation and logistics costs, which decreased the amount owed. Royalty is now charged on the gross revenue from the sales.

Brazil’s royalties collection 2019. Figures in Brazilian Real (1 BRL to USD = 0.239805) – Credit AMIG

According to the Association of Mining Municipalities of Minas Gerais and Brazil (AMIG), iron ore was responsible for 76% of all royalties received, boosted by high exports. Gold royalties increased 50% due to the increase in production and the price of the metal on international markets.

Vale was the company that paid the most in royalties with $566 million – or 54.8%.

In a research note, AMIG economist Luciana Mourão said that in 2020, the collection of royalties will depend especially on China’s demand for iron ore after the coronavirus outbreak.