Alcoa Foundation invests BRL 2.1 million in Technology Center

The partnership with Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará seeks to foster the mining sector and to benefit Western Pará’s society

Marina Pereira

Digital Studio & Content


Mining in the state of Pará is one of the fastest growing sectors and guarantees good economic growth for the region. According to the last Boletim Econômico Mineral do Pará (Mineral Economic Bulletin of Pará), disclosed by the Sindicato das Indústrias Minerais do Pará (Mineral Industries Union of Pará - Simineral), in 2020, the state accounted for about 34% ores exportation in Brazil. Being aware of that great potential, the Alcoa Foundation is investing BRL 2.1 million in the Geosciences and Applied Engineering Technology Center at the Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará (Ufopa) for the acquisition of inputs and equipment for the laboratories that will operate in Santarém and Juruti units, in the state’s western region.

Ufopa and Alcoa teams met to discuss the partnership - Photo: Divulgação - Alcoa

According to one of the project creators and Geology professor at Ufopa, Erica Cabral, by creating the new technology and research center, the state will be able to expand even further in the mining area. “The completion of the project is scheduled for July 2023. There will be four laboratories that must be fully equipped to meet the institution's demands: Geostatistics Laboratory; Mine Planning and Simulation; Mechanics of Rocks and Soils; Geochemistry and Hydrogeochemistry and Potential Methods. These new structures will directly benefit the Geophysics and Geology programs, in Santarém, as well as the Mining Engineering program, in Juruti”, emphasizes the professor.

The University has already acquired some of the necessary equipment and inputs: a seismograph, a magnetometer, and an atomic absorption spectrometer – all imported. A block machine, a precision scale, a deionizer, and a centrifuge were also purchased. At the Technology Center, activities capable of adding economic value to the region's natural resources and converting them into benefits for the local community will be developed.

One of the project’s major objectives is to foster innovation, along with teaching, research, and community outreach, creating favorable environments for the development of new technologies. In addition to serving Ufopa’s degree and post-degree programs, the structure will provide technological and scientific development as well as diversification in the fields of action.

Ufopa also foresees active participation of the community in general, in addition to the dissemination of culture through the mineralogical and fossiliferous exhibition museum, as well as auditorium community outreach events. The new projects will present conference schedules to popularize the knowledge by the academic/scientific community in engineering and geosciences produced”, explains Erica Cabral.

 According to Alcoa's Institutional Relations manager, José Haroldo Chaves Paula, creating the Technology Center has been highly attractive to the company and there’s the expectation it will benefit society, the University, and the mining sector in the state of Pará. “I was impressed by what was presented regarding the project, both the structure and the information, as well as the transparency with which Ufopa has been conducting this initiative. We are expecting these resources will indeed benefit the academic community and that we will have quality professionals trained, the ones who can reach job titles in the region’s companies with training obtained in Santarém, Juruti, and other counties where the University is present”, highlights José Haroldo.