Friday, 01 June 2012 07:07

Capturing the Riches of Bolivia: Utilizing Historical and Contemporary Experience in Bolivian Mining to Inform Future Resource Policy (2012) Featured

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Centuries of foreign extraction of Bolivian natural resource wealth have occurred at the expense of environmental protection and overall development within Bolivia. Since the Spanish began mining silver in Potosí in the mid 16th Century, foreign mining interests have destroyed forests and depleted water reserves, severely altering the Bolivian environment. All the while, these same foreign mining interests have removed a large portion of the wealth generated by the resources, leaving large areas of Bolivia underdeveloped. Presently, the global need for lithium and the Bolivian government’s need for foreign investment will require the prompt, and sustainable, development of Bolivia’s substantial lithium reserves. This paper examines historical mining perspectives in Bolivia with the goal of understanding how to improve future mining policy. To that end, the paper concludes with policy recommendations for the next stage of seeking foreign investors for development of Bolivian lithium reserves.
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