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LatinNews Daily - 11 January 2021

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In brief: Brazil signs agreement on rare metals with Japan

* Brazil and Japan have signed a memorandum of cooperation in the area of technologies related to the production of niobium and graphene. According to the Brazilian government, the objective of the bilateral document is to deepen mutual understanding of the value chain of products that use niobium or graphene. “The agreement is essential because Japan is a country with advanced technology and we are joining it in seeking to explore the possibilities of niobium and graphene. These materials are the products of the future”, the executive secretary of Brazil’s science & technology ministry (MCIT), Leonidas Medeiros, said. Brazil has the majority of the world’s reserves of niobium and one of the largest reserves of graphite; furthering the exploration of these rare metals has long been an objective of President Jair Bolsonaro’s, despite warnings as to the negative environmental impacts this could have. The memorandum of cooperation on niobium and graphene was signed by Brazil’s foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo, and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi. The two men signed three other cooperation agreements, on the sustainable use of Amazon biodiversity, the development of technological tools for sustainable agriculture, and the use of technology to track illegal deforestation.