Bolivia eyes nationalizing mining industry

Bolivia eyes nationalizing mining industry

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Friday he will move ahead with plans to nationalize the country’s mining sector following last year’s move to take over its oil and natural gas industries.

Morales, speaking to reporters at a summit of presidents of the Mercosur trade bloc in Rio de Janeiro, said his government was studying carefully details of the plan. It would not be a blank nationalization of the whole mining sector, he said.

“Where the companies have invested, they will get special treatment so that they can recover their investments. But, where there weren’t investments by these companies, those will be nationalized,” Morales said.

He declined to mention any other possible sectors that may be nationalized and gave no further details on the mining plans.

Morales nationalized Bolivia’s energy industry in May 2006, and officials repeatedly have said they wanted to reform the mining industry and were considering tax increases.

In October, Morales appeared to back away from a similar nationalization for the dilapidated mining sector, postponing major reforms until 2007 due to a lack of funds.

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.

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