Bolivia approves new mining law to increase investment

The Bolivian government approved a new mining code on Wednesday May 28, intended to attract new investment and to promote the sector’s value chain.

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The new legislation had been discussed over the past three years by participants in the local mining industry, including authorities from both private and state-owned companies, national vp Álvaro García Linera told Bolivia’s official news agency, ABI.

Miners interested in establishing operations in the Latin American country will have to conduct public hearings, carry out an environmental impact study that takes into account social and sustainable issues, and report their plans for areas devastated by mining activities.

“Foreign investors are welcome [to develop projects in the country], but under our conditions,” Linera said.

In terms of iron ore, Bolivia will charge royalties of 4% for concentrate and lump exports, 3% for pellets and 2% for pig iron and direct reduction iron, according to the government.

Bolivian state-owned miner Empresa Siderúrgica del Mutún (ESM) has begun exploitation in only half of the country’s major iron ore reserve, El Mutún. This is estimated to hold some 40 billion tonnes of ore with a 50% Fe content.

The other half was to be developed by a joint venture between ESM and Jindal Steel & Power, but the Indian company terminated a $2.1 billion contract in July 2012, claiming that the government in Bolivia had not fulfilled certain conditions.

Canada-based Ferrum Americas has made public its interest in developing an iron ore project, named Cerro Rojo, in Bolivia.

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