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Bolivia boosts steel industry with $446 million investment

Staff Writer | April 3, 2018
The Bolivian government finally went forward with the country’s most important steel plant which has been on hold for over a decade but can now proceed with the passing of a law allowing an investment of $466 million, most of it with Chinese capital.
LatAm   On hold for over a decade
“It’s an unforgettable day,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said after signing this law in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s economic capital.

Some 85 percent of the investment comes from a preferential credit of $396 million from the EXIM Bank of China, while the Bolivian government will contribute the remainder, another $70 million, for “the first steel industry in Bolivia,” Morales said.

The president added that in 30 months the Chinese company Sintosteel Equipment & Engineering Co. is expected to finish construction of the Mutun plant, which will start producing 12 months after that with a capacity of 194,000 tons of steel per year.

He also noted that it will create some 1,500 direct jobs and more than 3,000 indirect jobs.

For his part, Bolivia’s Deputy Employment Minister Emilio Rodas said in his speech at the ceremony that the country is breaking “the chain of frustrations” that accompanied this project since the Mutun iron deposit was found 80 years ago.

The politician described the passing of the law as a “historic moment,” because with it “Bolivia will enter the age of steel, however late.”