The northern Brazilian state of Amapá is once again one of the golden regions of Brazil. The state had revenues of US$ 54.2 million with gold exports between January and August this year, fruit of local investment in exploration of the ore.
Mining company Mineração Pedra Branca do Amapari, which is part of the Canadian Goldcorp group, started producing in the state at the end of last year, placing the state of Amapá in the list of great gold producers in Brazil.
The state had expressive gold production between the years of 1984 and 1995, when mining company Mineração Novo Astro operated in the region.
The new mining company started producing in September last year and reached the end of 2005 with production of 25,000 troy ounces, equivalent to 778 kilograms. For this year, the Mineração Pedra Branca do Amapari plans to place on the market 115,000 troy ounces, or 3,600 tons.
Exploration and production are concentrated in the city of Pedra Branca do Amapari, but the company also has operations in Serra do Navio. Pedra Branca is around 200 kilometers away from state capital Macapá, amidst the Amazon forest. The project started being implemented in mid 2004.
According to the Amapá Industry, Trade and Mining secretary, João Benício Dias, the state has plans to further expand gold exploration. According to him, there are already other companies interested in producing the metal in Amapá.
The state had not exported significant volumes to the Arabs in recent years, but, according to Dias, gold is one of the products that may be sold to the region. The Arabs are great consumers of golden products, mainly jewels.
Exploration of gold in the state of Amapá is very old and started in 1882. At the end of the 1930s, however, most of the operations were interrupted due to the Second World War, but they returned a little later. From then on, various mining companies have operated in the state.
Currently, apart from Mineração Pedra Branca do Amapari, there is also a cooperative called Cooperativa de Mineração dos Garimpeiros do Lourenço, which includes around 600 miners and exploits gold. They produce around five kilograms a month.
Apart from Amapá, the Brazilian states that also have expressive gold production are Pará (in the north), Minas Gerais (in the southeast), Mato Grosso and Goiás (in the midwest) and Bahia (in the northeast).
According to the Industry, Trade and Mining secretary of Amapá, the state is also attracting other investment, apart from those in the production of gold.
According to Dias, last year alone, over 30 companies established themselves in the industrial district in the state. The installation of a metallic tile factory, Profil – from French Guiana -, is scheduled for this year, with investment of US$ 120 million.
In coming years the state should receive a Chinese DVD and CD factory, AMP Technologic, and also a Chinese watch factory, MP. They should be in operation in six months and should receive investment of US$ 400 million.
The state of Amapá has among its industries processors of Brazil nuts, producers of mashed açaí, makers of furniture and companies specialized in mining. But agriculture and livestock farming are still very strong, with the raising of buffaloes and cattle, and production of food like maize, rice, beans and soy.
Amapá had revenues of US$ 92.6 million with exports between January and August this year. The value has grown 141% over the same period last year. In the whole of 2005, the state exported US$ 76.5 million.
Among the main products exported are gold, chrome, iron and manganese. The state also sold Brazil nuts, cereals, heart of palm and wood on the foreign market.
In 2006, up to now, the main buyers of Amapá state products outside Brazil were the United States, Turkey, Italy, China and Japan.
According to Dias, the state’s target is to have revenues of US$ 120 million with exports this year. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Amapá is US$ 3 billion. The state has 594,500 inhabitants.
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