(AFP) – Dec 1, 2007
LA PAZ (AFP) — Bolivia announced Indian company Jindal Steel and Power could start operations to mine the biggest iron desposit in the world, located in the east of the country.
President Evo Morales formally launched the exploitation of the Mutun deposit, which is estimated to contain 40 billion tonnes of iron and 10 billion tonnes of magnesium.
Access to the minerals have posed a challenge. The area, near the Brazilian border, is so remote that roads, electricity lines and buildings all have to be built.
Differences between Jindal Steel and Power and the Bolivian government over the price to be paid for gas to be used held up the project for several months. The Bolivian parliament only recently gave its approval.
Jindal has pledged to invest an initial 1.5 billion dollars in the project, then increase that to 2.1 billion over eight years.
The mining is expected to create 6,000 jobs directly and another 15,000 indirectly. The Indian company projects handling 25 million tonnes of minerals per day.
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