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Uranium - Exploration and Development: Brazilian Chapter

Pedro Aguiar de Freitas, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development and Investment (2009)

In view of the great potential of the uranium market in Brazil, most of the major players worldwide are eager for changes in the current legislation and new opportunities for private parties to participate in the exploration and exploitation of uranium in the country. According to official sources1 - and bearing in mind that only 25% of the nuclear ore potential of the Brazilian territory has been properly explored, Brazil has the 6th larger uranium reserve in the world (see Chart No. 1 for the location of the main deposits). Notwithstanding such impressive potential, the Brazilian uranium market is still excessively sluggish due to an outdated monopoly held by the Federal Union over the exploration and exploitation of nuclear ores in the country.

In a comparative perspective of the Brazilian scenario with other jurisdictions -- and even with other industries in Brazil, this article intends to provide the reader with: an overview of the current regulations over the exploration and exploitation of uranium in Brazil; an analysis of how such restrictions could be possibly released (including some comments on the likely results of such changes, based on the oil & gas and general mining experiences in the country); and a description of recent initiatives adopted by the Brazilian government towards the participation of private entities in the exploration and exploitation of