Bolivia's mineral resources: a mirage or a real El Dorado?
Article published on the GRESEA website ( Research Group for an Alternative Economic Stragegy)
Resources which remain poorly understood
Just like water, fossil fuels, primary forests, and the air which we breathe, mineral resources are a natural resource. Just like water, they are unevenly distributed across the earth's crust and, in contrast with plant resources, cannot be cultivated. “If you can't grow it, you have to mine it” says a popular saying in the mining world to make the activity acceptable to those who consume its fruits, often without even knowing it.
Is Bolivia sitting on a golden throne?
From a strictly geological point of view, Bolivia is a country whose sub-soil contains a very high diversity of mineral deposits. It is crossed by significant structures which are fractured and folded to form the current Andes Cordillera. But the imposing relief which is visible today is only the consequence of relatively recent tectonic movements which started more than 200 million years ago. As for the western part of Bolivia, it is covered with sediments linked to the Amazonian basin, but which have led to the appearance at the Brazilian border of a base of very ancient rocks which remain little explored (Litherland, 1987).