Prospecting work done by Instituto de Pesquisas Radioativas on the Barreiro area (Araxa, M.G.) has shown the existence of a rare earth deposit of about 700.000 ton, averaging 13,5 % rare earth oxide, mainly associated to the mineral monazite. In a first stage, the conventional mineral dressing methods were tried to treat the monazite. This was followed by a study of a chemical process for the production of rare earth compounds of commercial grade. The conventional methods of mineral dressing tested did not lead to satisfactory results. This was assumed to be due to insufficient liberation of the monazite. However, the application of the chemical process to the natural material, using concentrated sulfuric acid in the initial attack, allowed more than 90% rare earth extraction and a subsequent yield of commercial grade rare earth oxide, with over 75% rare earth recovery. (author).