Is it finally niobium’s time to shine?

The darling of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, the country is leading the charge in developing new uses for niobium, hoping to transform it into an important facet of the Brazilian economy

niobium mining brazil
Niobium samples exposed in Brazil’s 1st Niobium Fair. Photo: Clauber Cleber Caetano/PR

Whenever reading the word “niobium,” the minds of a large part of the Brazilian population are immediately transported back to gushing statements made by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has claimed on numerous occasions that the transition metal squeezed in between zirconium and molybdenum on the periodic table could provide the country with its “economic freedom.”

But the recent announcement of innovative technologies using niobium could mean that, in the future, when Brazilians hear of this particular naturally occurring metal, they might think of electric vehicle batteries, or Covid treatments — and not President Bolsonaro fawning over niobium...

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