Brazil’s 2020 mineral production topped 1 billion tonnes, up 2.5%

Vale Brucutu iron ore mine in Minas Gerais (Credit: Vale)

Brazil’s mineral production totaled 1 billion tonnes in 2020, up 2.5% over 2019, industry group Ibram said on Tuesday.

By value, the country’s mineral exports reached $37 billion, compared to $33 billion in the previous year, bolstered by strong Chinese demand for iron ore and the depreciation of the national currency ($1 = 5.3590 reais).

In 2020, iron ore contributed 66% of Brazil’s total mineral revenue, and gold 11%. The country exported 342 million tonnes of iron ore in 2020, compared to 340 million tonnes in 2019.

Vale will deliver its production report on Wednesday, including updated annual guidance.  In its previous report, Vale lowered its 2020 iron ore projection to between 300 million and 305 million tonnes and forecasted 315-million to 335-million tonnes for this year.

With a recent fire at its Ponta da Madeira maritime terminal (TPPM) in Maranhão state, the company may be facing a potential 32 million tonne shipment hit.

Brazil’s production in 2021 is also expected to be boost by the return of Samarco operations, five years after Fundão dam tragedy.