Bolivia selects 5 foreign firms for El Mutun iron ore

Sunday, 11 Jul 2010

Bolivia said that it has pre selected 5 foreign companies as potential partners in developing 50% of the giant El Mutun iron ore deposit, located near the border with Brazil.

Mr Sergio Alandia president of Empresa Siderurgica del Mutun, the state run firm overseeing the El Mutun project, said that Italy’s Danieli, Japan’s Kobe Steel, South Korea’s Hyundai and COSCO and China’s GMV C&C are interested in the project, adding that executives from those firms will meet in the next few weeks with Bolivian government representatives.

Mr Alandia said that “We’re carrying out a sort of pre selection. There are a lot of people interested. It’s an honor for us and a privilege for Bolivia. Bolivia is now privileged to choose among world’s biggest companies as suppliers of equipment, technology and financing.”

Mr Alandia added that work is being carried out along two lines: one geared toward exporting iron ore and another on the development of a steel plant with a view to attaining full industrialization of the reserves.

The first firm to meet with Mining Ministry representatives will be Danieli, whose executives are due to arrive in La Paz on July 14th 2010 to submit a modified version of their initial proposal for investing in Bolivia.

Mr Alandia said that the interested companies are vying to join a consortium that would have a 40% stake in the project to exploit the half of El Mutun’s reserves in the hands of the government. The other 60% stake in the project is to be held by Bolivia.

Rights to exploit the other half of El Mutun’s reserves were awarded to India’s Jindal Steel & Power in 2007, but investment delays have sparked conflict with President Evo Morales’ socialist government.

According to official estimates, El Mutun contains 40 billion tonnes of reserves of different minerals, mainly iron ore, which the government plans to use to produce steel.

Source: http://www.laht.com

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