|A scene from Potosi a famous Bolivian mining center. Note the volcano in the background a source of gold deposits.|
Photo by Idobi
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Gold Occurrences in Bolivia
Although Bolivia is noted for its tin production especially in the area around Potosi gold mining and prospecting proceeded at a brisk rate during the late 1980s. Gold is found throughout the country with more then 300 cooperatives and over 10,000 prospectors producing gold.
The practices of the mining industry leads to soil erosion combined with pollution of the country’s fresh-water resources. This leaves the peons of the country torn between mining and jobs or protecting the environment that fails to bring
much needed jobs.
Mining is the mainstay of
economy with around 50% of its foreign exchange coming from this source. The country’s private mining sector has
continued to grow led by Canadian and U.S.
companies. The government has set aside
a large area about 120 km north of LaPaz
for gold mining and exploration.
There are plenty of active and extinct volcanoes in
to provide heat engines to drive the hydrothermal
waters responsible for building gold deposits when the water reaches
conditions that will precipitate the dissolved gold from solution. This volcanic activity has given birth to
extensive deposits of hard rock gold and abundant placer deposits in the
country’s rivers and streams. There is
both artisanal and full scale mining in Bolivia,
and it’s still ongoing.
Mining has been going on in
since the days of the Spanish
conquest that began in 1524 and was mainly completed in 1833. In those days after the conquest what is now Bolivia
was known as “ Upper Peru.” When it was founded in 1545 as a mining
center Potasi quickly started pouring immense mineral wealth into the
coffers of the Spanish Empire it quickly became the largest city in the New
World with a population larger then 150,000.
The Spaniards were mainly interested in gold it was later that Potasi
became known for its tin deposits.
Mineral wealth continues to pour from Bolivia.