Brazil potash in fertilizers used to fuel agricultural export crops, potash is in short supply worldwide and demand continues to climb. The commodity is typically produced in Canada and Russia, but disruptions have spurred some of the world’s biggest importers to seek other sources. That’s where Brazil comes in. The country has significant untapped domestic deposits that can help reduce its reliance on overseas supplies, according to Matt Simpson, CEO of a Canadian company looking at mining the mineral in the Amazon state of Brazil.
But despite a recent court ruling reviving the Toronto-based company’s plan to build the Autazes mine, which would produce enough potash for 34 years, a number of obstacles remain. The project is being fought by a local indigenous community, the Mura, who say they aren’t being consulted fairly, and by a government agency, Brazil’s Environment Protection Federal Authority.
Agricultural Innovation: Potash’s Vital Role in Brazil’s Farming Sector
The project, which is majority-owned by the Canadian merchant bank Forbes & Manhattan, has been in the works for a decade and Simpson says the company’s latest update on its engineering, cost and economic technical report has reaffirmed that it can be developed with the necessary permits. The company hopes to raise the capital needed to bring the project online by 2022.
The project predates the rise of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has sought to promote extractive projects like this in the Amazon and elsewhere in Brazil. But it’s an example of the kind of development that could be jeopardized by rising protectionism in global trade, Simpson said.