Bolivia Aims to Break into Rare Earths Market

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In early January, Bolivia’s Minister of Mining Marcelino Quispe López announced that surveying and prospecting for rare earth elements (REEs) in the South American country had yielded promising results. In other words, Bolivia could, in the future, add REE exports to its long list of exported minerals. The other side of the coin is that the country’s dependence on mining will not change anytime soon.


What We Know

Minister Quispe explained that the Bolivian Mining Corporation (Corporacion Minera de Bolivia: COMIBOL) and the Geological Mining Service (Servicio Geologico Minero: SERGEOMIN) have located REE deposits in Independencia (Cochabamba), San Luis, Cotaje, (Potosí), San Javier and Cerro del Mutún (Santa Cruz). Additional surveying in Cerro Manomo identified 850 REE samples, while Rincón del Tigre had 799 confirmed samples of REEs, both locations are in the Santa Cruz department. The Bolivian La Razon newspaper added that Bolivia has deposits of 17 types of REEs.

“We have two elements, scandium and yttrium, and other elements. We have prospected and explored Cochabamba in the Independencia province: uranium, titanium, and others were identified. Then, in San Luis in Potosí, [prospecting will seek] cobalt and copper,” Minister Quispe said. “Other projects include San Javier, in Santa Cruz, for exploring and prospecting for tantalum and niobium. Also, at Manomó Hill, for uranium and thorium deposits,” added the newspaper Ahora el Pueblo, noting that future exploration will occur in Rincón del Tigre and Mutún for manganese.

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