Jose Mendes Nogueira & family was born in Brazil. In 1966, Jose Mendes Nogueira founded iron ore mining firm J Mendes in Itauna, a small city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. In 2008, Usiminas, Latin America's biggest flat steel group, bought J Mendes to secure the supply of raw material for steel manufacturing, with cash disbursements over time. The down payment was $925 million for 100% control of J Mendes, with additional clauses that could lift the price to $1.9 billion depending on surveys of the iron ore reserves. Jose Mendes Nogueira owned 80% of the company and the rest was divided among his 5 children. Media-shy Nogueira maintains a simple lifestyle and stays out of the limelight.