The Alta Floresta Belt is arguably the most desirable gold exploration destination in Brazil. A massive land grab has been occurring since the latter half of 2017, with approximately 2.65 million hectares of copper and gold exploration permit applications being filed with the Brazilian Mining Department to date, covering virtually the entire belt.
ALTA FLORESTA BELT
The Alta Floresta Gold Province (AFGP) is located in the southern portion of the Amazon Craton and consists primarily of plutono-volcanic sequences generated in a continental arc settings during the Paleoproterozoic.
It is estimated that from 1980 to 1999 the AFGP produced ~160 t Au (Paes de Barros, 2007) from a significant number of alluvial and small (<5 t), high grade primary gold deposits along an arcuate NW-SW striking belt. Primary gold mineralisation occurs as: veins, stockworks and disseminations mostly in I-type (calc-alkaline to subalkaline) granitic rocks and, more subordinately in volcanic sequences.
Based on the ore mineral association and geochemical signature, gold mineralisation may be subdivided into two groups (Paes de Barros 2007; Assis 2011; Xavier et al. 2011):
(i) Au ± Cu ± (Ag, Bi,Te) represented dominantly by pyrite and variable concentrations of chalcopyrite; and
(ii) Au + Zn + Pb ± (Cu) with pyrite and significant concentrations of sphalerite, galena and minor chalcopyrite.
Mining activities in Brazil are primarily regulated by the Mining Code of 1967 (the “Mining Code”) and the Mining Code Regulation of 1968 (the “Regulation”).
In Brazil, mineral resources are the property of the Federal Government and are distinct from the ownership of the land in which the resources are located. Exploration and mining activities can be carried on by private entities through an authorisation or concession granted by the Federal Government through ANM.
The Mining Code and the Regulation establish, among other things, the legal regime applicable to the exploration for and development of mineral resources, including the rights and obligations of licence holders and landowners, the classification of mining activities, applicable sanctions and the rights in respect of governmental inspection of the mineral industry.
The National Mining Agency (Agência Nacional de Mineração or ANM), a federal agency of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, regulates the Brazilian mining regime. The restructuring of the prior regulatory body, Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral (DNPM), into the ANM was approved by the Federal Senate in December 2017.
Mineral tenements in Brazil are granted subject to various conditions prescribed by the Mining Code, including rental payment and reporting requirements, and each tenement is granted subject to standard conditions that regulate the holder’s activities or are designed to protect the environment.
Mineral tenements in Brazil generally comprise:
- Old Workings Exploitation
- Exploration Authorized Licenses;
- Mining Concession Granted/Mining Licences
The holder of a prospecting licence, exploration licence or mining licence is not required to spend a set annual amount per hectare in each tenement on exploration or mining activities. Therefore, there is no statutory or other minimum expenditure requirement in Brazil. However, an application fee and annual rental fees per hectare are payable to the ANM. The fee is dependent upon the substance being explored, the location and size of the area and certain other factors. In addition, certain payments must be made to the landowners in which the licence area is situated.
Lodging a caveat or registering a material agreement against the tenement may protect various interests in a mining licence. If a mineral tenement is located on private land, then the holder must arrange, or agree with the landowners, to access the property. In case of the landowners do not accept the access of the holder, the law guarantees ways to proceed with mineral exploration, since it is a public good of greater magnitude than private property.