Natural Resources of Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais was founded in 1720, after official expeditions made by pioneers, who identified metals and precious stones in the region. The result of the search was the finding of gold in the riverbeds and in the city of Ouro Preto, where there were already large deposits in the 17th century. In this way, the toponym “Minas” is directly linked to the historical and socioeconomic construction of the state.
The mineral activity has evolved and modernized over time, becoming a crucial sector in the projection of Minas Gerais to the national and international market. It is noted the presence of this type of raw material in the manufacture of materials used in the energy, transport, innovation, and civil construction sectors, among others, which are indispensable sectors in day-to-day modern life.
Currently, mineral resources continue to be highlighted, mainly niobium, iron, steel, and gold.
Another essential natural resource for the state of Minas Gerais is water. Five of the eight main non-Amazonian hydrographic basins are born in the Cerrado of Minas Gerais; 70% of the water is from the São Francisco River and 50% of the water is from the Rio de la Plata. In addition, the Southeast region has a water availability of 334.20 trillion m³/year, more than half of which, 193.9 trillion m³/year, is in Minas Gerais.
Minas Gerais is a pioneer in the installation of hydroelectric plants in South America, giving the state great prominence in the supply of energy to the country. Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (CEMIG) is one of the main energy distributors in the country, operating in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity and natural gas.
The large volume of river basins in the state provides great hydroelectric potential, due to the São Francisco, Paranaíba, and Grande rivers, in addition to the Jequitinhonha, Doce, and Araguari rivers. The estimated hydraulic potential of the state is 24GW, the third-largest in Brazil, and the installed capacity reaches 17GW, distributed in several plants across the country. The region with the highest rate of hydroelectric power generation is the Triângulo Mineiro.
CEMIG has invested in photovoltaic energy. In 2018, it created the Cemig Geração Distribuída project, to implement, install, operate, maintain, and lease projects and equipment that use solar energy. In 2021, CEMIG surpassed the 1GW mark of installed distributed generation power, placing the state in a leading position in the country, accounting for 18% of all installed potential in Brazil. Currently, 884 cities have their own energy generation, with 98.9% of the municipalities in Minas Gerais.
Considering winds above 7.0m/s, Minas Gerais has a wind power generation potential of approximately 40GW. The areas most favorable to the generation of this type of energy are the Triângulo Mineiro, Northern, and Northeastern, mainly along the Espinhaço Mountain Range. It is also worth mentioning the presence of several companies in the production chain of the wind industry in Minas Gerais.
Companhia de Gás de Minas Gerais’, GASMIG, has exclusivity in the distribution of piped natural gas in the state, by concession or grant, to the commercial, industrial, residential, and thermoelectric segments, through compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and automotive (CNG).
For regions peripheral to GASMIG’s distribution network, there is a system of virtual pipelines (transport by trucks) for the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
One of GASMIG’s projects to expand its network provides for the supply of the input to regions of Vale do Aço, Southern Minas, Mantiqueira, and Campos das Vertentes, in addition to the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte. The current plan concentrates its activities in neighborhoods in the Center-South region of Belo Horizonte, Vila da Serra, Nova Lima, and in the Betânia neighborhood, in the west region of the capital, with the aim of taking natural gas to both homes and businesses.
Minas Gerais has seven distinct life zones or biomes, with great biodiversity compared to other states in Brazil. With this incredible biodiversity, the state has the potential to develop community-based ecotourism in each of these biomes, as a tool to reduce poverty and protect nature, an additional sustainable element to the state, which would become an international model of sustainable development.
Minas Gerais boasts an educational system that starts at the age of six, guaranteeing an extra year for children until they reach high school. The state’s educational institutions are highlighted in the private sector, being considered one of the best in the country.
The state also has a wide network of technical schools, with emphasis on the Federal Center for Education and Technology (CEFET-MG), the Education for Work Foundation (UTRAMIG), and federal institutes in the areas of education, science, and technology, operating at the regional level.
Regarding higher education, the state has about 300 educational institutions, being the federative entity with the largest number of public educational institutions. The distribution of higher education in the state, in all aspects, whether in the number of enrollments or institutional presence, both in the public and private spheres, remains linked to the economic development of the regions that comprise it. In other words, there is a good synergy between academia and industry or the production chain in these regions. It is worth mentioning the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, which achieved 15th place in the ranking of Latin American universities (QS Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings 2021) and 3rd place in the national ranking (Times Higher Education 2021).
A unique and outstanding institution in the state is SKEMA Business School. SKEMA is part of a very exclusive circle in which less than one percent of world business schools have the triple accreditation: EQUIS-AACSB-AMBA. According to the Financial Times, in its annual ranking of master’s Courses in Management, SKEMA is ranked 6th among French schools, 22nd in the world, and in the Top 10 overall for the international experience offered to its students. With global and local operations, Skema has 7 campuses located in 5 different countries: South Africa, Brazil, China, the United States, and France. The Brazilian campus is located in Belo Horizonte and offers courses with an emphasis on Global Business Management for the Brazilian public. In Montreal is the SKEMA Artificial Intelligence Lab. SKEMA AI research and activities facilitate the creation of a strong, interdisciplinary research environment. Research activities range from techniques and algorithms to more business-oriented applications, including AI ethics, cyber security, privacy, human-machine interactions, etc
Another important highlight in the State of Minas Gerais is Dom Cabral Foundation (Fundação Dom Cabral – FDC), considered the 9th best business school in the world according to the Financial Times’ executive education ranking. For over 40 years, the Foundation has been educating executives, public managers, entrepreneurs, and organizations from different segments in several countries. FDC offers access to modern business tools, exchange of experiences, and joint generation of knowledge thanks to its partnerships and cooperation agreements with several institutions in the United States, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Latin America.
Minas Gerais has a wide tourist spectrum, ranging from traditional to contemporary. It is no coincidence that the State is popularly known as a Brazilian synthesis since, in no other State in Brazil, there is such cultural diversity and gastronomic wealth. In a land with great mineral wealth, mountains, and waterfalls, Minas Gerais has been consolidating itself as an international destination for adventures, events, and religious tourism.
A highlight in Minas Gerais tourism is the Circuito Liberdade, a project that aimed to transform the historic buildings of Minas Gerais into spaces with a vocation for art, culture, and heritage preservation, gathered as a cultural complex of reference for the Minas Gerais capital and your visitors. The region is located on the outskirts of Praça da Liberdade, a project designed in the XIX century to house the administrative center of the State with the construction of secretariats and the Palácio da Liberdade, former government headquarters.
‘Circuito Liberdade’ currently comprises 33 institutions that permeate the cultural and artistic universe in different aspects. Thirteen of these cultural facilities are managed directly by the State Government and the others work with public-private partnerships or partnerships with public federal institutions.
For more information about the circuit and how the attractions work, visit: www.circuitoliberdade.mg.gov.br
Another Minas Gerais highlight is the Inhotim Institute, a contemporary art museum and Botanical Garden located in Brumadinho. Conceived in the 1980s by the Minas Gerais businessman Bernardo Mello Paz, it was only in 2006 that one of the largest open-air museums in the world was opened. Its location between the rich biomes of the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado creates an exuberant landscape along 140 hectares of visitation, with around 700 works, by more than 60 artists, from almost 40 different countries. These open-air galleries are displayed in the middle of a Botanical Garden with more than 4,300 rare species from all continents of the world.