Category Archives: Mining

Bolivian Political and Social Landscape: Primer for Pending Presidential Elections

As the presidential campaigns gain momentum, AIN outlines the political and social landscape in Bolivia to provide background to understand upcoming electoral debates. President Evo Morales is running for a third term in the October 12, 2014 elections.  Critics argue he is not eligible to run for another consecutive term, but the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal ruled in his favor, and […]

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Colquiri Conflict Continues

In late May 2012, conflict erupted in Colquiri, a mining district about 350km south of La Paz.  Salaried and cooperative miners who work in different areas of the same mine struggled to control territory.  Although the government, salaried workers, and cooperative miners reached an agreement on June 19th, conflict reemerged in September as cooperative and salaried workers continued to fight […]

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Mallku Khota Mining Mess: Analysis

Bolivian Mining Conflict in Mallku Khota: Analysis The violent conflict around the Mallku Khota mining area and subsequent nationalization of the mineral deposit highlight the recurring issues in Bolivia of consultation, resource competition, and the role of transnational corporations.  The conflict is complex, and many aspects remain unclear.  An administration that ran on a platform against foreign exploitation of Bolivia’s […]

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Timeline of Bolivian Mining Conflict in Mallku Khota

The several violent, reoccurring conflicts in northern Potosí over the presence of a Canadian mining company have finally been at least temporarily resolved by an agreement by the Morales government to rescind South American Silver’s mining concession.  After multiple violent clashes between community members, various demonstrations, a march to La Paz, three different hostage situations, and the shooting death of […]

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Is Bolivia Ready to Export Lithium?

On October 11, Bolivia’s Mining Minister Jose Pimentel stated that Bolivia plans to start production of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride for export this month, and expects a finalized product by January or February.[i] However, it is unlikely that Bolivia’s lithium carbonate will be available on the international market in the near future. At an isolated pilot plant, Bolivian and […]

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Wright on Bolivian Lithium: Interesting, but Not Quite Right

It’s not the first time a respected, established journalist has presented a selective view of events in Bolivia.  In general, Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker article “Lithium Dreams” covers a great deal of territory, but lacks objectivity and thorough research in some areas. Some errors are simple and avoidable, such as misspelling Pablo Solón, Bolivian ambassador to the U.N.’s name, or […]

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Part III: Bolivia’s Mining Rollercoaster: Negotiating Nationalization

Re-inserting the State Beginning in October 2006, the Morales administration has taken measures to reinsert the state into the mining sector, including the May Day presidential decree giving state institutions such as the mining company, COMIBOL, greater control.  The administration also seeks to increase the state’s share of the earnings in light of skyrocketing prices for Bolivia’s principal minerals: silver, […]

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Mining Policy in the Morales Administration: Reactivation and Conflict

President Morales has announced plans to commence a new era in Bolivian mining in 2007. The year 2006 saw the highest mining revenue since 1985 and exports jumped from $346 million in 2005 to over $1 billion in 2006. Increased demand for minerals, in large part c from China and India, has revitalized the Bolivian mining sector.  Price increases on […]

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Part II: An Emerging Mining Policy for Bolivia

Future mining concessions eliminated; pre-existing concessions remain intact While stopping short of fully nationalizing the industry, the decree clearly asserts state control over all mineral wealth in the national territory and continues the process of “recovering control” of Bolivia’s natural resources, a key element of the President’s 2005 electoral platform. However the original interpretation of the decree has shifted. Mining […]

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Mining Policy in the Morales Administration: Reactivation and Conflict

Part II:  An Emerging Mining Policy for Bolivia On May 1, 2007, one year after the “nationalization” of the hydrocarbons industry, Bolivian President Evo Morales declared all Bolivian territory a public mining reserve and reasserted state jurisdiction and control over all minerals, metals, precious and semi-precious stones. The state mining company, Bolivian Mining Corporation (COMIBOL) now administers all mineral wealth […]

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