The history of mining in Brazil will always involve the Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto (EMOP), and when we look at what is currently happening in Brazil, it shows us how current the opinions of its founder and former students are.
In an opinion, given by Henri Gorceix, on requests for exploration and mining, we find the following comment:
In fact, at first sight, the Government, by its condescension, facilitated the organization of industrial companies, but often to the detriment of a large number of citizens and to the benefit of some speculators not worthy of benevolence, which, of course, is not moral.
Not long ago, this statement by Gorceix could have been repeated again, when Brazil tried to create large national companies. But let's go ahead:
Secondly, Gorxeix stated: in a new country, whose financial customs are not yet well established, one or two disasters are enough to drive away capital from companies for a long time, which on the contrary, offer all the guarantees with the risks that in all countries of the world presents the mining of mines.
The flight of capital from Brazil is almost constant, but let's continue:
Again, as per Gorxeix: Therefore, the State has the right and the duty to take certain precautions in the concession of mines and not to make it too easy to obtain such concessions, demanding from the petitioners guarantees that prove that they can use the deposits and documents that clarify the administration about the nature and importance of these.
Instead, many companies, even multinationals, used loans from the BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development). It is good to remember that in its beginning, this bank had in its employment a former EMOP student, Glycon de Paiva.
In 1935, Professor Emídio Ferreira da Silva, when he was supporting the engineering class at Escola de Minas, wrote:
I am a supporter of the free export of ore, but I still haven’t been able to convince myself, given our reserve of iron ore, that the exit of this wealth will leave a vacuum in our country, and will one day produce a shortage of raw material for the national industry.
Such export will, on the contrary, leave a compensation in wages and export taxes. Once these are fixed at a reasonable rate, I see an extra article in our export balance to be included in our trade balance, in our favor.
There are several historical examples, coming out of the School of Mines, and which are so current, given the reforms that Brazil intends, and needs, to implement, that it is regrettable that 146 years ago, they could already have been implemented. And who knows, we wouldn't be the “eternal country of the future”.
Publication in this collection
20 Sept 2021
Date of issue