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April 11th, 2012

Large deposit of rare earth neodymium discovered in Brazil

Published on April 11th, 2012 | By: Eileen De Guire

A large, new deposit of neodymium has been discovered in the Brazilian state, Bahia (shown red). Credit: Wikipedia.

A story on Mining.com reports that the Brazilian mining company, World Mineral Resources, has discovered a large reserve of neodymium in the western state of Bahia, Brazil. According to the story, the deposit will yield about 28 million tons of neodymium and is worth about $8.4 billion. This is the first discovery of neodymium in Brazil, and its potential is second only to China’s Baotu, the world’s largest deposit of this rare earth element.

It is difficult to find rare earth mineral deposits that are large enough to mine economically. The story reports that the going rate for neodymium is $300,000, and the global market for the element is worth $5 billion.

The quality of the ore appears to be similar to that of the Chinese deposit. The story cites a Portuguese-language article in the Brazilian newspaper Jornal Nova Fronteira in which WMR says the ore grade (concentration) is 12.75 percent, compared to Chinese grades of 12-14 percent.

WMR is owned by Brazilian billionaire and company CEO, João Carlos Cavalcanti. A trained geologist, he is known for his “mystical” lifestyle and eccentric tendencies, according to a profile three years ago in the New York Times.

The Brazilian newspaper reports that he has just returned from a round of project presentation in the United States and Canada, where he met with investors interested in three major ore projects: bauxite, iron and rare earths.

Bahia is well-acquainted with the mining industry. Brazil’s third largest mineral-producing state, it also produces gold, copper concentrate, magnesite, chromite, rock salt, manganese, phospahtes, talcum and more. It also has a major port in the capital Salvador.


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