Brazil and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Brazil is the thirty-second largest coal producer in the world and the third largest producer in South America.

Brazil's coal reserves are the largest in the continent, estimated at 6.6 billion tonnes in 2019.[1]

Coal Resources

According to expert reports commissioned by the World Energy Council in 2011, Brazil's reserves include “proved amount of sub-bituminous coal in place was 6,640 million tonnes. The same source assesses Brazil’s proved recoverable reserves to be 6 630 million tonnes. This is higher than in the last report [with]…additional discovered amounts of coal in place at lower lev- els of confidence as approximately 10.8 billion tonnes classified as ‘probable’ and more than 6.5 billion tonnes as ‘possible’. It also estimates that a further amount of around 8.3 billion tonnes of coal is recoverable from undiscovered resources.”[2]

Resource Details

Category Reserve Classification Quantity Units Data Year
BGR Estimate Reserves 6,596[3] million tonnes 2019
BGR Estimate Resources 17,252[3] million tonnes 2019
Geological Survey Reserves 6,635[4] million tonnes 2008
Geological Survey Resources 32,279[5] million tonnes 2003
Commercial Reserves Reserves million tonnes
Commercial Resources Resources million tonnes

Coal Production

Coal development in Brazil is concentrated in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is home to all of Brazil's significant coal mines, 88% of national coal reserves, and the majority of its operating and proposed coal-fired power plants.[6]

Almost all of Brazil’s coal output is steam coal, of which about 85% is fired in power stations. Reserves of subbituminous coal are located mostly in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.[2]

The governmental agencies responsible for energy policy are the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), the National Council for Energy Policy (CNPE, in the Portuguese language, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (Brazil) National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) and the National Agency of Electricity (ANEEL).[7]

State-owned companies Petrobras and Eletrobrás are the major players in Brazil's energy sector, as well as Latin America's.

Coal Consumption

Brazil is the 10th largest energy consumer in the world and the largest in South America. At the same time, it is an important oil and natural gas producer in the region and the world's second largest ethanol fuel producer.

Brazil consumed 5.96 million short tons of coal in 2019, ranking 27nd globally.[8]

Imports & Exports

Brazil's largest coal plant, the 1085 MW Porto do Pecém, is supplied with imported coal from Colombia.[9] Brazil only exports small amounts of coal (1300 short tons in 2019).[8]

Proposed new sources & projects

Brazil's proposed Guaíba Mine project, which has been seeking environmental approval since 2014, would be the largest open pit coal operation in Latin America, with the potential to produce more than 6 million tonnes per year. However, the mine has encountered ongoing legal challenges and fierce opposition from concerned citizens and environmental groups.[6][10]

Proposed Coal Plants

Articles and resources


  1. "2020 Statistical Review of World Energy" (PDF). BP. June 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Energy Resources: Coal, World Energy Council, Country Notes, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 BGR Energy Study 2019 - Data and Developments in German and Global Energy Supplies (23), 200 p, Hannover, Germany
  4. Carvão Mineral,2008
  5. Geological Survey of Brazil, "Geology, Tectonics and Resources Minerais of Brazil", GSB website, 582 p, Accessed July 2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Vereadores mobilizam contra mineração no principal reduto de carvão do Brasil | Diálogos da Transição". EPBR. May 26, 2021.
  7. IEA. World Energy Outlook 2006. ISBN 92-64-10989-7
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Brazil". U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retrieved 2021-06-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "The Power Plant". EDP Pecém. Retrieved 2021-06-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Coal from Guaíba, Latin America's largest open-pit mine, will stay in the ground". Retrieved 2021-06-19.

External resources

External articles