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Bolivia-Structure of the Mining Industry

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Bolivia Index

Comibol, created in 1952 and decentralzied into five semiautonomous mining enterprises in 1986, was a huge multimineral corporation controlled by organized labor and the second largest tin enterprise in the world. In addition to operating twenty-one mining companies, several spare-parts factories, various electricity plants, farms, a railroad, and other agencies, Comibol also provided schooling for over 60,000 children, housing for mining families, health clinics, and popular subsidized commissaries called pulperías (see Glossary). By 1986 Comibol employed more nonminers than miners.

Observers severely criticized Comibol's mining policies. Comibol took fifteen years to bring tin production to its prerevolutionary levels. In addition, Comibol failed to invest sufficiently in mining technology and existing mines, and it proved unable to open new mines. Indeed, except for the mid-1960s Comibol did not engage in exploration. In terms of administration, worker control eclipsed even technical and detailed administrative decisions.

The decentralization of Comibol under the Rehabilitation Plan reduced the company's payroll from 27,000 employees to under 7,000 in less than a year. All of Comibol's mines, previously responsible for the bulk of mining output, were shut down from September 1986 to May 1987 to examine the economic feasibility of each mine; some never reopened. Comibol's mining and service companies were restructured into five autonomous mining subsidiaries (in Oruro, La Paz, Quechusa, Potosí, and Oriente) and two autonomous smelting companies (the Vinto Smelting Company and the still unopened Karachipampa smelter in Potosí), or they were transferred to ministries such as the Ministry of Social Services and Public Health or the Ministry of Education and Culture. The bureaucracy also underwent major administrative changes.

For the first time since 1952, the country's medium miners, small miners, cooperatives, and other producers, which made up the rest of the mining sector, produced more minerals in 1987 than Comibol. The medium miners consisted of Bolivian and foreign mining companies in the private sector that were involved in the production of virtually every mineral, especially silver, zinc, antimony, lead, cadmium, tungsten, gold, and tin. Nevertheless, the collapse of tin and the decline in other commodity prices in the mid-1980s also severely affected the private mining sector. Nineteen mining companies with 4,020 employees constituted the Medium Miners Association (Asociación de Minería Mediana) in 1987, compared with twenty-eight companies and 8,000 workers in 1985. Only 615 mines in 1987 were part of the National Chamber of Mining (Cámara Nacional de Minería), the equivalent of a small miners association, compared with 6,300 mines and 23,000 workers before the crash. Traditionally, small miners had to market their mining output through the Mining Bank of Bolivia (Bancco Minera de Bolivia -- Banin), which was also restructured after 1985 into a joint venture of private and public interests. Beginning in 1987, small miners no longer had to sell their exports through Bamin, a policy shift that boosted that group's output and foreign sales. Mining cooperatives and other miscellaneous miners made up the rest of the producers in the mining sector, although their output was aggregated with that of the small mining sector. The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia (Federación Nacional de Cooperativas Mineras de Bolivia) served as an umbrella organization for the country's 434 mining cooperatives, 82 percent of which mined gold. Only a few of these groups, however, were officially registered with the National Institute of Cooperatives (Instituto Nacional para Cooperativas). Most cooperatives were small and consisted of individual miners organized by mine or specific mineral and using very little technology.

Data as of December 1989

BackgroundBolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor, indigenous majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will allow him to continue his process of change.
LocationCentral South America, southwest of Brazil
Area(sq km)total: 1,098,581 sq km
land: 1,083,301 sq km
water: 15,280 sq km
Geographic coordinates17 00 S, 65 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 6,940 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,423 km, Chile 860 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 1,075 km

Coastline(km)0 km (landlocked)

Climatevaries with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m
Natural resourcestin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 2.78%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.03% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)1,320 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)622.5 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 1.44 cu km/yr (13%/7%/81%)
per capita: 157 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsflooding in the northeast (March-April)
Environment - current issuesthe clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notelandlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
Population9,775,246 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 35.5% (male 1,767,310/female 1,701,744)
15-64 years: 60% (male 2,877,605/female 2,992,043)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 193,196/female 243,348) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 21.9 years
male: 21.3 years
female: 22.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.772% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)25.82 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)7.05 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-1.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 66% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 44.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.57 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 66.89 years
male: 64.2 years
female: 69.72 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.17 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian
Ethnic groups(%)Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
Languages(%)Spanish 60.7% (official), Quechua 21.2% (official), Aymara 14.6% (official), foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)

Country nameconventional long form: Plurinational State of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local long form: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia
Government typerepublic; note - the new constitution defines Bolivia as a "Social Unitarian State"
Capitalname: La Paz (administrative capital)
geographic coordinates: 16 30 S, 68 09 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sucre (constitutional capital)
Administrative divisions9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija

Legal systembased on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; the 2009 Constitution incorporates indigenous community justice into Bolivia's judicial system

Suffrage18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)
Executive branchchief of state: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (since 22 January 2006); Vice President Alvaro GARCIA Linera (since 22 January 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 6 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014); note - per the new constitution, presidents can serve for a total of two consecutive terms
election results: Juan Evo MORALES Ayma elected president; percent of vote - Juan Evo MORALES Ayma 64%; Manfred REYES VILLA 26%; Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana 6%; Rene JOAQUINO 2%; other 2%

Legislative branchbicameral Plurinational Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (36 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; 76 members are directly elected from their districts [7 or 8 of these are chosen from indigenous districts] and 54 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms).
elections: Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Deputies - last held 6 December 2009 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 26, PPB-CN 10; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 89, PPB-CN 36, UN 3, AS 2

Judicial branchSupreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges elected by popular vote from list of candidates pre-selected by Assembly for six-year terms); District Courts (one in each department); Plurinational Constitutional Court (five primary or titulares and five alternate or suplente magistrates elected by popular vote from list of candidates pre-selected by Assembly for six-year terms; to rule on constitutional issues); Plurinational Electoral Organ (seven members elected by the Assembly and the president; one member must be of indigenous origin to six-year terms); Agro-Environmental Court (judges elected by popular vote from list of candidates pre-selected by Assembly for six-year terms; to run on agro-environmental issues); provincial and local courts (to try minor cases)

Political pressure groups and leadersBolivian Workers Central or COR; Federation of Neighborhood Councils of El Alto or FEJUVE; Landless Movement or MST; National Coordinator for Change or CONALCAM; Sole Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia or CSUTCB
other: Cocalero groups; indigenous organizations (including Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Eastern Bolivia or CIDOB and National Council of Ayullus and Markas of Quollasuyu or CONAMAQ); labor unions (including the Central Bolivian Workers' Union or COB and Cooperative Miners Federation or FENCOMIN)
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band
note: similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; in 2009, a presidential decree made it mandatory for a so-called wiphala - a square, multi-colored flag representing the country's indigenous peoples - to be used alongside the traditional flag

Economy - overviewBolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets. In 2005, the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company. In early 2008, higher earnings for mining and hydrocarbons exports pushed the current account surplus to 9.4% of GDP and the government's higher tax take produced a fiscal surplus after years of large deficits. Private investment as a share of GDP, however, remains among the lowest in Latin America, and inflation remained at double-digit levels in 2008. The decline in commodity prices in late 2008, the lack of foreign investment in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, and the suspension of trade benefits with the United States will pose challenges for the Bolivian economy in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$43.38 billion (2008 est.)
$40.88 billion (2007 est.)
$39.08 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$16.6 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)6.1% (2008 est.)
4.6% (2007 est.)
4.8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,500 (2008 est.)
$4,300 (2007 est.)
$4,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 11.3%
industry: 36.9%
services: 51.8% (2008 est.)
Labor force4.454 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 40%
industry: 17%
services: 43% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)7.5% (2008 est.)
7.5% (2007 est.)
note: data are for urban areas; widespread underemployment
Population below poverty line(%)60% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 44.1% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index59.2 (2006)
44.7 (1999)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)18% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $8.039 billion
expenditures: $7.5 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)14% (2008 est.)
8.7% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$3.998 billion (31 December 2008)
$3.032 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$6.339 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.729 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$5.433 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.759 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
$2.263 billion (31 December 2007)
$2.223 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$582.9 million (2005 est.)

Public debt(% of GDP)45.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
46.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - productssoybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber
Industriesmining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing

Industrial production growth rate(%)10.6% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$2.015 billion (2008 est.)
$1.984 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$6.448 billion (2008 est.)
$4.49 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
Exports - partners(%)Brazil 60.1%, US 8.3%, Japan 4.1% (2008)
Imports$4.641 billion (2008 est.)
$3.24 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans
Imports - partners(%)Brazil 26.7%, Argentina 16.3%, US 10.5%, Chile 9.5%, Peru 7.1%, China 4.8% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.722 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$5.318 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$5.931 billion (31 December 2008)
$5.385 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$5.998 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesbolivianos (BOB) per US dollar - 7.253 (2008 est.), 7.8616 (2007), 8.0159 (2006), 8.0661 (2005), 7.9363 (2004)

Currency (code)boliviano (BOB)

Telephones - main lines in use690,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular4.83 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: privatization begun in 1995; reliability has steadily improved; new subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities; mobile-cellular telephone use expanding rapidly; fixed-line teledensity of 7 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density slighly exceeds 50 per 100 persons
domestic: primary trunk system, which is being expanded, employs digital microwave radio relay; some areas are served by fiber-optic cable; mobile cellular systems are being expanded
international: country code - 591; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
Internet country code.bo
Internet users1 million (2008)
Airports952 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 4,883 km; liquid petroleum gas 47 km; oil 2,475 km; refined products 1,589 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 62,479 km
paved: 3,749 km
unpaved: 58,730 km (2004)

Ports and terminalsPuerto Aguirre (inland port on the Paraguay/Parana waterway at the Bolivia/Brazil border); Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay
Military branchesBolivian Armed Forces: Bolivian Army (Ejercito Boliviano, EB), Bolivian Navy (Fuerza Naval Boliviana, FNB; includes marines), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18-49 years of age for 12-month compulsory military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2009)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,295,746
females age 16-49: 2,366,828 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,666,697
females age 16-49: 1,906,396 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 108,304
female: 104,882 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)1.9% of GDP (2006)
Disputes - internationalChile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile offers instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian natural gas and other commodities; an accord placed the long-disputed Isla Suarez/Ilha de Guajara-Mirim, a fluvial island on the Rio Mamore, under Bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute

Electricity - production(kWh)5.495 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 44.4%
hydro: 54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.5% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)4.665 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)51,360 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)60,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)10,950 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)6,172 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)465 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)14.2 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)2.41 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)11.79 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)750.4 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.2% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,100 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 500 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.7%
male: 93.1%
female: 80.7% (2001 census)

Education expenditures(% of GDP)6.4% of GDP (2003)

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