Brazil’s Deepening Ties with Russia and the Quest for Uranium

Brazil’s Deepening Ties with Russia and the Quest for Uranium
Photo by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo / Unsplash

Exploring the synergy between Brazil and Russia and their evolving relationship in the world of mining and nuclear energy.

Over the years, Brazil, an influential giant in South America, has made significant strides in its quest for mineral wealth and energy self-sufficiency. With its vast reserves of resources, the country has attracted global attention, particularly from Russia, a nation with a rich history in mining and nuclear energy. A series of events have deepened the ties between these two nations, offering insights into the evolving geopolitical landscape and the shifting dynamics in the realm of global energy.

Mining Woes and Opportunities

Brazil's extensive mineral resources are a double-edged sword. While they offer the country immense economic potential, the mining processes sometimes pose severe environmental and social challenges. In late 2019, a tailings dam operated by Brazil's mining firm Vale SA, experienced a catastrophic failure, resulting in significant environmental damage and loss of lives. The dam's rupture released vast amounts of mining waste, highlighting the pressing need for safer and more sustainable mining practices in the country.

Such tragic incidents, while underscoring the risks associated with mining, also bring to the fore opportunities for international collaboration. Russia, with its advanced mining technologies and best practices, can play a crucial role in helping Brazil achieve safer and more efficient mining operations.

A Historical Perspective: Brazil-Russia Ties

It's essential to understand the historical context of Brazil-Russia relations to appreciate the current synergy. Even back in 2013, these two BRICS nations were engaging in robust dialogue to strengthen their bilateral ties. Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's then Prime Minister, visited Brazil to cement relations. Trade deals worth over $1 billion were signed during his visit, encompassing sectors from defense to technology. The dialogue indicated Brazil's strategic importance in Russia's foreign policy and Russia's keen interest in Latin America's largest economy.

Nuclear Ambitions and Collaborations

One of the most exciting areas of cooperation between Brazil and Russia lies in the nuclear domain. Brazil's ambitions in nuclear energy have been evident, given the country's extensive uranium reserves, which rank among the world's top ten. With the rising global demand for cleaner energy sources, uranium's role in fuelling nuclear power plants is becoming even more crucial.

In a significant move, Rosatom, Russia's state atomic energy corporation, has announced plans to supply uranium products to Brazil. This collaboration promises mutual benefits. For Brazil, this partnership means access to advanced nuclear technologies, know-how, and a steady supply of processed uranium to meet its energy requirements. For Russia, this presents an opportunity to strengthen its foothold in the South American energy market and showcase its expertise in nuclear energy.

Moreover, such collaborations reinforce the importance of multilateralism in today's interconnected world. They underscore the significance of countries coming together to address global challenges and harness opportunities. In the face of climate change and the pressing need for sustainable energy solutions, nuclear energy offers a compelling solution, and collaborations like the Brazil-Russia partnership can pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Implications for the US and the Wider World

For the United States, the deepening ties between Brazil and Russia offer both challenges and opportunities. As the traditional leader in the Western Hemisphere, the US has long seen Latin America as its strategic backyard. The increasing influence of Russia in the region, particularly in a significant country like Brazil, could be perceived as a challenge to the US's traditional dominance.

However, it's essential to look beyond the zero-sum game. The Brazil-Russia partnership in nuclear energy and mining can bring about best practices, technological advancements, and more sustainable solutions. These can benefit not just the two countries involved but also the wider world, including the US. Instead of seeing this collaboration through the lens of geopolitical rivalry, it can be viewed as an opportunity for trilateral cooperation, bringing together Brazil, Russia, and the US for shared benefits.


In an ever-evolving global landscape, ties between nations like Brazil and Russia offer intriguing insights into the future of energy, geopolitics, and international cooperation. Their collaboration, rooted in mutual respect and shared interests, can serve as a model for other countries seeking sustainable solutions and partnerships in a complex world. For the United States, it's a call to embrace a more collaborative and inclusive approach, recognizing that the world's challenges and opportunities are best addressed when nations come together.