Most of the niobium resources of Brazil occur as pyrochlore in carbonatites within syenitic intrusives of Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary age in western Minas Gerais and southeastern Goils. Minor amounts of it are produced together with tantalum from columbite-tantalite concentrates from pegmatites and placers adjacent to them, in the Sao Joao del Rei district in south-central Minas Gerais. All the niobium and tantalum produced in Brazil is exported. The only pyrochlore mined is from the Barreiro carbonatite deposit near Araxa in Minas Gerais where concentrates and ferroniobium are produced. Exploration work for pyrochlore and other mineral resources are being undertaken on other carbonatites, particularly at Catalao I in southeast Goias and at Tapira and Serra Negra in western Minas Gerais. Annual production and export from the Barreiro deposit are about 8,000 metric tons of pyrochlore concentrate containing about 60 percent Nb205 and about 2,700 metric tons of ferroniobium with 63 percent Nb2O5.
The annual production capacity of the Barreiro plant is 18,000 tons of concentrate and 4,000 tons of ferroniobium. Ore reserves of the Barreiro deposit in all categories are 380 million tons with percent Nb2O5. Annual production of tantalite-columbite from the Sao Joao del Rei district, most of which is exported to the United States, is about 290 tons, of which about 79 percent is tantalite and about percent is columbite. Reserves of tantalite-columbite in the Sao Joao del Rei district are about 43,000 tons of proved and 73,000 tons of probable ore.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Niobium (columbium) and tantalum resources of Brazil
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Geological Survey,
34 leaves :map (fold. in pocket) ;27 cm.; (55 p. - PGS)