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El Mutún

El Cerro Mutún (Spanish for "the Mountain Mutún") is the world's largest iron ore deposit[1]. Located in the Germán Busch Province in the Santa Cruz Department of Bolivia, near Puerto Suárez, it extends across the border into Brazil, where it is called the Serrania de Jacadigo. Also known as the "Serrania Mutún", it has an area of about 75 square kilometers. Its estimated reserves are about 40.205 billion (40.205 × 109) tons of iron, mainly in hematite and magnetite form, and in lesser quantities in siderite and manganese minerals. This can be compared with an estimate of the total world reserves of iron ore: 800 billion tons of crude ore containing more than 230 billion tons of iron[2].

Although it is not yet significantly worked because of its remoteness from industrial centers, EBX Brazilian company had a project to create a foundry there. However, the project was blocked by president Evo Morales because of environmental concerns; instead of using natural gas available from a pipeline 20 km away, vegetable carbon was to be used for the foundry, demanding 45 hectares a day of Amazonian wood [3]. Despite this, EBX started working anyway before obtaining its licence, under the name of MXX. The Bolivian Ministry of Defence declared that "various irregularities and constitutional violations" had been observed.

On April 19, 2006, the Bolivian army freed three government ministers who had been taken hostage by villagers demanding the immediate opening of all EBX's installations [4].

In 2007, India's third largest steel manufacturer, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, signed a contract with the Bolivian government to exploit the Mutun iron ore depoist. According to the contract, Jindal would invest US$ 1.5 billion initially and an additional US$ 2.5 billion over the next eight years. This is the single largest investment by an Indian firm in Latin America.[5] The mining is expected to create 6,000 jobs directly and another 15,000 indirectly. The Indian company projects handling 25 million tonnes of minerals per day.[6] Through this deal, Bolivian government has shown its intent to decrease its economic reliance on Brazil and United States and develop closer ties with other major economic powers.


  1. ^ Serrania Mutun, Chiquitos Province, Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia. Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
  2. ^ IRON ORE. U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Program. Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
  3. ^ (Spanish) Bolivia: El bocado de "El Mutún" - Bolpress
  4. ^ (French) "Libération de trois ministres boliviens pris en otage par des villageois", Le Monde, April 19, 2006. Retrieved on April 19, 2006. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "El_Mutún". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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