Bolivian Mining 101

This chart is from La Razon, August 16, 2011. It reflects the evolution of the Bolivian mining activities during the first semester 2011. There is more revenue from minerals exported, and it is because of the higher prices, volumes remain more or less the same, said some analysts.

On the left side of the chart, there is a comparison of revenues earned for the first semester of years 2010 and 2011. The “smaller” sector is the publicly owned mines (3.1 million dollars during 2010); followed by the small mining sector that includes cooperatives (which are the ones most impacted by violent take overs, as reported in this blog, see older posts). The largest mining sector is private, labelled as medium mining (21 million dollars during 2011).

The right side of the chart has horizontal bars for the countries where Bolivian minerals went for years 2009, 2010 and 2011. Exports to the USA during 2011 are slightly higher than to South Korea. The export figures to China are not as large as common Bolivians and analysts believe. That is during this worldwide recession almost everybody points out that China will lower dramatically their imports of raw minerals and that could hurt the Bolivian economy. China in this chart is only 4th and Belgium is pretty close to it.

El Deber reports a drop in the price of tin (fine pound), from $12.95 to $11.15 in the last two weeks. Mining minister Jose Pimentel believes that the worldwide economic crisis, and this price fall will not affect this sector.

If prices were to drop more on the minerals we export, chances for strikes and blockades from the mining workers will more likely to happen by the end of this year. The mining sector is one of the fiercest and more violent workers’ union of Bolivia. Many of them when they were laid of in the late 80s and early 90s ended up in the Chapare region, growing coca.

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