The state of Ceará, Brazil, is situated on the Northeastern coast of Brazil along the Atlantic Ocean, right below the equator. And while the general public may recognize the state for its beaches and warm weather, the stone industry knows Ceará for its wealth of natural resources - including a broad range of exotic stone materials.
A total of 500 types of ornamental stone can be found in Ceará, and 100 are commercially marketed, according to Geraldo Silvério, executive secretary of the Simigran organization, which works to organize and promote stone materials from the region. Silvério said that there are 70 to 80 quarries in the state, and exploration for new quarry sites continues on an ongoing basis.
According to statistics released by Simagran, Ceará has 45 active mines, extracting 180,000 tons of stone per year. Additionally, stoneworking facilities in Ceará process a total of 1 million square meters (10.76 million square feet) of finished slabs and tiles each year.
In its promotional efforts, Simagran also points to the infrastructure surrounding the capital city of Fortaleza and throughout the state, including a modern airport and two port facilities that can handle vessels ranging from 50,000 or 150,000 tons.
The quarries of Ceará can vary greatly in size and materials process. In terms of exotics, some of the quarry sites can yield as little as 30 cubic meters of stone per month - although most see production ranging from 100 to 150 cubic meters per month. Materials extracted from these sites include Red Dragon, Matrix, Elegant Brown, Chocolate Brown, Bordeaux and many others.
Other quarries in Ceará are noted for more traditional materials, such as Juparana Gold or Green Ventura granite, and they generally provide around 250 cubic meters per month. On an even larger scale, the Ceará White quarry currently yields 1,000 cubic meters of material per month, and it has yielded twice that amount as demand has required.
In the following articles, Stone World takes a look at the stone industry of Ceará, Brazil, with reports on first-hand visits to the quarries and stoneworking facilities of the state.