Bolivian mining 101: In crisis due to wrongdoings of current ochlocratic gov

Los Tiempos Editorial:


Los Tiempos small logoJudging by the results, it appears that the current mining policy is one of the worst mistakes of the present Government

As if this were not bad results, after more than three years of development of the new mining law, which has its many failures at serious risk for the future of one of the main pillars of the national economy over the past days have known two stories that make us fear even more difficult days for the sector.

One is the latest report from the National Statistics Institute (INE) as that in the first quarter of this year the export value this year decreased by 66.38 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

A less dizzying but also show very significant drop in exports of silver, gold and other minerals as a result of falling international prices.

In this factor, caused by a downward trend of prices in foreign markets, one that is more alarming is added it is unfortunate consequence of the way it has managed the sector over the last eight years and its negative effects project into the future without a change of direction in sight.

The second bad news, linked to the above but compounded by a string of errors that had accumulated since it was nationalized in October 2006, which is the one that makes us aware of the impending collapse of the Empresa Minera Huanuni (EMH).

According to the latest reports, during the first quarter of this year, production of the EMH fell 32 percent due to lack of investment in inputs and machinery and the huge wage economic burden resulting from the more than 4,500 workers, many more according to technical criteria which are necessary for the production process and yet enjoy much higher salary levels than what is allowed by the insolvent company.

So bad scenario is not surprising to know more of the mining issue. Rather, as the above data do nothing more than confirm what quite insistently has been warned for quite some time.

Among the many causes of the crisis of the national mining, arguably the most important is the government’s decision to give priority to cooperatives, the economic sector that has managed to appropriate a disproportionate share of the country’s mineral resources without making the necessary investments. Are companies that do not develop prospecting and exploration, they incorporate new technologies and limited to appropriate the result of investments made in past decades by the state and private sector.

Paradoxically, despite the strong who are all the studies done on the subject and how bad they are the results, the political commitments that have left the country in the hands of mining cooperatives seem destined to prevail. Thus, the facts give reason to believe that the current mining policy in our country in recent years is one of the worst mistakes of the present Government.

To make things worse, those cooperative miners are now saying that they do not have to ask for anyones permit to use water in their operations. Those groups took by force many mining concessions, care very little of the environment and their employees… a state within a state… anarchy rules in Bolivia due to the incompetence of the coca-grower leader who sits at the Bolivian presidency…

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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