Finally a piece of good news for Bolivia! The company that operates a larger portion of El Mutun mine (iron mineral, border Santa Cruz with Brazil), Jindal Steel & Power reported the first shipment of 260 thousand metric tons of iron concentrates to China. For centuries Bolivia was known as a highland mining country who exported all its ores via the Pacific (over 100 years thorough Chile and Peru, after loosing our sea cost to the former).
Now, the lowlands are the source for the minerals and export takes place from the Paraguay-Parana hydro via, to the Atlantic. Chinese market will pay $62 dollars per ton, triple price from last year’s.
What is next to complete the steel industry? To provide better access to the mine, roads, better river access, railroad; use natural gas instead of coal or wood to generate competitive electricity. Furthermore, once access to the hydro via is secured, other agricultural produce from Santa Cruz will be exported from there. Even Chile is considering this route for their exports.
This weekend, as Easter finally arrived, the large Bolivian Catholic community has embraced celebrations with devotion. Some of our youngsters will take this opportunity to go to Samaipata, a nice town not to far away from here. Santa Cruz people like to drive to nearby towns to enjoy the ride, the food, and meet their peers in a different setting.
In Santa Cruz, people like to talk more openly about stuff than in La Paz or Cochabamba (the highlands in general). You may be amused to see people next to you, in a cafeteria, park, street, bus or waiting for the elevator that will talk to you without any problem. As time goes by they will even tell you things that you normally don’t share. Please don’t panic, just remember, we are like that. We like to share, we like to listen.
There isn’t much to say about politics or social unrest here in Bolivia at this Easter weekend, thank God. Just the usual threats, just the same way politics have been played for the last 600 years. A recent study made by BBC London portraits Bolivians being very conflicting, with social unrest almost every time of the year. They conclude that either there are no governments that can address the needs of the Bolivian society; or that this society is intolerant and/or very difficult to please. Need say no more for now, just enjoy the weekend and happy Easter!