ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDING GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
By Antonio Guerrero
The Brazilian government will invest $35.4 billion to increase sugar cane production for the booming ethanol industry.
Bumper crop: Brazil ramps up cane field production
The Brazilian government has announced plans to invest $35.4 billion to increase sugar cane production to supply the country’s booming ethanol industry. The plan calls for developing 5.2 million hectares of new cane fields and renewing 6.4 million hectares of aging plantations. Bunge, the international foods processor, had also announced a commitment in August to invest $2.5 billion through 2016 to boost sugar production, as well as increase ethanol and biomass energy generation in Brazil. Bunge recently announced an additional $584 million investment to boost agricultural production, focused mainly on palm oil plantations.
Environmental sector investments are on the rise, as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) continues to praise the government for boosting environmental protection laws and halting the deforestation rate. Itaú Unibanco, one of the largest banks in the Southern Hemisphere, will receive up to $100 million in Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loans to finance green projects in Brazil, as well as in Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The World Bank approved a $15.9 million Global Environmental Facility grant to support the second phase of the Protected Area Program for the Amazon region. The program will consolidate 32 million hectares of existing protected areas, while creating 13.5 million new protected hectares over the next four years. Brazil is the global host for this year’s World Environment Day, to be held in June.
Brazilian mining is poised for further growth this year, with mining industry association Ibram predicting a 5% to 8% rise in value in both 2012 and 2013, driven mainly by increased output, rather than higher prices for metals and minerals. Brazil is expected to receive $65.8 billion in mining sector investments through 2015. Brazil, which reported $50 billion in mining exports last year, is the world’s second-largest iron ore exporter. Brazil’s Vale, which was privatized by the government in 1997, is also the world’s second-largest mining company, the world’s largest producer of iron ore and the second-largest producer of nickel.