Mineral resources sector in Portugal

Opportunities for UK companies looking to develop their business in Portugal’s thriving mineral resources sector.

Market overview

Mineral resources are a priority and key sector in Portugal today. Portugal has very important geological resources, which in the mining sector alone are estimated at €340 billion (twice the GDP). This shifts the Portuguese Government’s efforts towards making the country the most competitive one in Europe by 2020, and one of the leading exporters of iron, copper, gold and tungsten.


Mining is a priority sector for the Portuguese Government, with a huge potential. The increase of commodities’ prices allows a more intensive exploration of these resources. The potential and growth of the sector will be intensified in the next coming years. The Portuguese Government is deploying a new official strategy for the mining sector, based on new legislation, incentives and support offices for the new investors. Efforts are also being made towards more tax incentives and a new royalties’ scheme.

Mineral exploitation has a present considerable high level originated from world class deposits, as Neves-Corvo (copper, tin) and Panasqueira (wolfram), but also from a lot of some other deposits producing salt, feldspar, kaolin, ball clay and fire clay, ornamental stones and some other mineral substances. Portugal is presently one of the main EU producers of copper, tin and tungsten concentrates and an important world producer of ornamental stones. Somincor, the owner of Neves-Corvo, is expected to invest €130 million in 2013 and between €300-€700 million over the next five years.

Gold is becoming very attractive in Portugal, with over 2 million ounces identified in the past 18 months corresponding to reserves of over €2,5 billion.

Since June 2011, the Government has signed 95 new mining contracts for research of metallic minerals.

Oil & Gas

On the Oil and Gas sector, the results of the research work performed since mid 2011, together with the seismic 3D analysis in the south and central country, are positive and will lead to new concessions. Large players like Repsol, Petrobras (offshore) and Mohave (onshore) are present and will lead to new investments. Investment on the onshore is expected to be between €270 and €800 million over the next five years.


Portugal has a well developed, advanced infrastructure, required to support the growing mineral resources sector:

  • 4 international airports on the mainland

  • 5 main sea ports on the mainland, all receiving international traffic

  • One of the most developed roadway systems in Europe

  • 4 international rail lines exiting Portugal

There are, however, plans to develop the railway network and ports, which also represent opportunities in terms of supply chain needs.

Key opportunities

Portugal is an attractive market for UK companies interested in developing their business in the mining sector.

  • New mining strategy with incentive regulations

  • Favourable political conditions to new mining projects

  • Good communication channels with government and mining bureau

  • Much available data, including old drill core and regional surveys

  • Skilled workforce relative to the mining industry, both at the management and worker level

  • Good national infrastructure

  • Mineral potential allied to a positive business climate

The mineral resource sector is very interesting and appealing to British companies, in terms of:

  • supply of equipment and services to existing players operating in the Portuguese market

  • applying for concessions

  • partnering with players awarded concessions to share operational and financial risks

In addition to its own potential within mineral resources, Portugal is seen as a platform for investment in Europe, Africa and Brazil, where the historical, cultural and language affinities have considerable relevance.

Latest opportunities – Metals, Minerals & Materials

Latest opportunities – Mining

Latest export opportunities – Oil & Gas

Latest export opportunities – Portugal

Getting into the market

UK companies should aim to compete in the Portuguese mineral resources market, mainly through public procurement, tenders and concessions. Business tends to be facilitated through a local partner.

In the wider context, Portuguese firms may make ideal partners for UK companies wishing to access opportunities in Portuguese-speaking markets further afield, mainly Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.

More about doing business in Portugal


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Frederico Lyra, Trade & Investment Senior Adviser, Tel +351 213 924 068; Email [email protected]

  • Carlos Fernandes, Trade & Investment Adviser, Tel +351 213 924 069; Email [email protected]

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events – Metals, Minerals & Materials

Latest events – Mining

Latest events – Oil & Gas

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Metals, Minerals & Materials
Countries: Portugal
Export Action Plan