Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Uranium Country Notes
Exploration activity over a period of some 40 years, ending in 1991, resulted in the discovery of occurrences and deposits of uranium in eight different areas of Brazil. Total Identified Resources are substantial, consisting of RAR of 157 700 tonnes (recoverable at less than US$ 80/kgU) plus IR of 121 000 tonnes. Undiscovered conventional resources are put at 300 000 tonnes of PR recoverable at under US$ 80/kgU and 500 000 tonnes of SR with no cost range assigned.
Although Brazil's RAR are very substantial, and backed up by massive additional resources, its uranium output has never been on a commensurately large scale: cumulative production at end-2005 was not much more than 2 000 tonnes. Output in 2004 was 300 tU but dropped to 110 tU in 2005 owing to environmental disputes. Mine output recovered to 183 tU in 2006.
After 2 years on standby, the 360 tU/yr Poços de Caldas production centre in Minas Gerais state was definitively shut down in 1997 and is now being decommissioned. It has been replaced by a new plant (now called Caetité) at Lagoa Real in the eastern state of Bahia. The Caetité plant has a current nominal production capacity of 340 tU/yr.
Another production centre, at Itataia in north-eastern Brazil, is scheduled to commence operations in 2007. Its annual uranium production capacity, as a by-product of phosphate output, is planned to be 680 tonnes.
Brazil's conventional resources are supplemented by unconventional resources, for which there are at present no plans for recovery:
carbonatite (containing 13 000 tonnes U);
marine phosphates (28 000 tonnes U);
quartz-pebble conglomerates (2 000 tonnes U).