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Bolivia nationalizing mines too?

Dan Grech May 30, 2006


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: There’s something like a California Gold Rush happening in Bolivia. That country’s massive iron ore deposits are like gold. A lot of countries had put in bids to mine that ore, but nearly all of them have withdrawn their offers. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech tells us why.

DAN GRECH: Bolivia’s El Mutun deposit has 50 billion tons of iron ore. It’s expected to produce $100 million of ore a year.

Ten mining companies originally expressed interest in the deposit, including firms from Brazil, China and Canada. But only one company is still at the table: the Jindall group from India.

Economist Jerry Haar is with Florida International University. He doubts the Indian firm will get the project. Bolivia’s new president, Evo Morales, has signaled that he wants state control over mining.

JERRY HAAR: We though that nationalization was a thing of the past, a relic. But unfortunately we’re seeing a resurgence in nationalization in the Americas.

Today Bolivia is expected to announce it’s formed a partnership to pull the ore from the ground. Collaborating in the venture is US nemesis Venezuela.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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