CETEM Conference in Rio de Janeiro

CETEM Conference in Rio de Janeiro

$6 million to fund research on rock dust and alternative minerals for agriculture and biofuel production at the University of Brasilia


On November 27, a conference on rocks and alternative minerals to fertilize soils and use as biofuel was held at the Center of Mineral Technology (CETEM) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. RTE Coordinator in Brazil, Alberto Machado and Carlos Cristan, attended the event, where geologists, agronomists, veterinaries, biologists, farmers, entrepreneurs and government officials had the opportunity to discuss proposals for public policies for the support and feasibility of the remineralization of Brazilian soils.

Just a few months after the first conference on remineralization in Brasilia, CETEM held the first of a series of events that are scheduled for the first half of 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, with the purpose of discussing different themes in the study of agro-minerals for their use in biofuel production.

During the event, the coordinator Francisco R. Fernandez announced that he will be formalizing a network of research on rock dust in Brazil at the University of Brasilia, with a budget of $6 million to fund the project over the next 8 years. The endeavor will include searching for alternative sources of potassium in the soil and its use in energy projects and the production of biodiesel and ethanol.

There were also lectures by renowned researchers such as Artur Pinto Chaves, Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, in topics such as “Conventional and Alternative Technological Routes to Obtain Fertilizers.”

Dr. Peter von Stratten, from the University of Guelph, in Canada, assisted this event to address the topic of “Alternative Rocks and Minerals of the World,” in addition to providing an important point of view on the development of remineralization in Brazil.

The lecture presented by Dr. Adao Benvindo da Luz addressed the theme “Rocks and Alternative Minerals in Brazil,” where he explained the potential of different minerals in agriculture, such as basalt, serpentine, verdigris and phonolite.

Lastly, a “Map of Mineral Raw Materials for Alternative Agriculture,” a map of Brazil’s locations and extent of deposits of minerals, traced by Gerson Matos, was made available for the first time to Brazilian farmers, researchers and investors. This is a very important tool for these experts to develop the fertility of Brazilian soils.

No other country in the world has pledged this much money towards remineralization research. It looks like Brazil is the emerging leader in remineralization research.


Conference participants.
Researcher Diego Cara next to one of his experiments at laboratory CETEM, where research is being performed on the solubilization of nutrients from rocks by bacteria and fungi.

The company Basalto Agricola distributed samples of its agricultural basalt, brochures and handouts.

The agronomist Carlos Cristan seized the occasion and presented informally soil basalt to participants.

Dr Peter von Stratten, of Rocks for Crops (center) with RTE Coordinator Alberto Machado and Carlos Cristan

The manager Rafael Curimbaba also used the occasion to promote the development of phonolite, a rock rich in potassium.
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