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Promoting mineral potential of Bolivia

 
GEUS - Internationale udviklingsprojekter. Promoting mineral potential of Bolivia
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Promoting mineral potential of Bolivia

Bolivia on globe Bolivia * Bolivia is gifted with mineral deposits some of which have been mined over the last 500 years. In fact, the country has been a world leader in production of several commodities including tin, silver, antimony and tungsten. However, since the 1980's Bolivia's role on the international mining scene has dwindled, mainly due to the price collapse of some commodities, for example, tungsten, tin and antinomy.

The same recession hit neighbouring countries like Peru and Chile. However, the metal extraction industry of these two countries recovered and the mining industry has made huge steps forward. In contrast, Bolivia's mining industry has been under constant decline.

Why are the metal extracting industries in Bolivia lagging behind its neighbours, in spite of the vast potential?

In order to explore ways to revive exploration and exploitation by foreign investment, COMIBOL (Corporación Mineral de Bolivia) and the Danish Embassy at La Paz contacted GEUS asking for advice. The reason for choosing GEUS was GEUS' long time experience in promoting mineral resources e.g. Greenland and Yemen. On this background, the Survey has met with key stakeholders and decision makers in mining and mineral promotion of Bolivia, to analyse the situation. The key stakeholders were: Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy, Sergeotechmin and COMIBOL, SENARECOM and FOMIN, in addition to some of the mining operators in the Ororu district.

Our investigations showed that the main obstacles for promoting the mineral resources are tripartite.

  1. The absence of a transparent mining law; moreover, the Bolivian government takes a 55 percent share with 45 percent to the company.
  2. There is no easy access to scientific data gathered previously by foreign mining companies.
  3. Bolivia has done very little to promote its national mineral potential.
Open pit gold mine west of La Paz
Open pit gold mine west of La Paz
Heap leaching plant at the gold mine west of La Paz
Heap leaching plant at the gold mine west of La Paz
Contact:
Peter W. U. Appel
Senior research scientist
E-mail: pa@geus.dk
Telephone: +45 3814 2214
Promoting mineral potential of Bolivia