14 September 2009 23:42 [Source: ICIS news]
SAO PAULO (ICIS news)--The Brazilian government intends to encourage miner Vale and oil major Petrobras to increase the nation's fertilizer production, a minister said on Monday.
The government has been in talks with the companies to develop the project, which could lower Brazil’s dependence on imported fertilizers, said Edison Lobao, Brazil's mining and energy minister.
Lobao did not offer details on the talks or on the structure of the project.
Other investors could also be interested in the project, the minister said.
Lobao said entrepreneur Eike Batista, for example, known as Brazil’s richest man, could be one of the potential investors in the project.
Batista has announced intentions to invest strongly in Brazilian assets, saying that the country could grow rapidly in the next 10 years.
The fertilizer project has been under discussion for months.
In 2008, Brazil spent some $3.8bn (€2.6bn) on potassium chloride imports and currently purchases abroad roughly 90% of the feedstock needed to produce fertilizers, according to analyst reports.
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