BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil plans to put about 1,000 mining areas up for auction this year including areas containing gold, copper and iron ore, a director of the country’s National Mining Agency (ANM) told Reuters on Monday.
ANM had initially planned to start auctioning off the areas in the first half of 2019, but Director Eduardo Leão said in an interview that despite delays the first auction would still take place this year.
Brazil has a backlog of more than 20,000 areas where mining rights expired or were otherwise lost by their previous holders, equivalent to roughly 10% of the areas with pending mining permits.
“I imagine that by September we’ll put some areas up for auction,” Leão said.
“We’ll do them 1,000 (areas) by 1,000. Putting out 1,000 and see how it goes then put out another 1,000.”
The auction will include areas where mineral production can begin immediately, those that are still in the research and exploration stage and those aimed at small wildcat miners, he said.
Investors may be more cautious after a mining disaster at a Vale SA facility in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho killed more than 240 people in January, Leão said. But he expects the auctions to nevertheless attract a lot of interest from domestic and foreign companies, including junior Canadian miners.
This years auction of mining blocks is expected to bring in 20-30 million reais ($5.25-$7.88 million)in revenue for the government, he said.
Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Susan Thomas