LA PAZ – The Bolivian government confirmed Thursday that the provincial government of Potosi has a project in the works to explore for uranium at an old mine.
National Mining Director Freddy Beltran told Efe that efforts will be carried out to find uranium at the Cotaje mine; uranite (any of the uranium phosphates) was produced there in 1974, although because it was “of low concentration” the mine was shut down shortly thereafter.
On Tuesday, an official from the Potosi administration told the media that that region plans to invest $300,000 to begin exploring for that mineral, while Beltran said Thursday that the project still is in a “preliminary” phase.
Beltran added that the national government is unaware whether uranium exists in other parts of the country because “regrettably” Bolivia’s geological map covers just 25 percent of its territory.
At the end of March, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, met in La Paz with leftist President Evo Morales and announced that organization’s willingness to cooperate with Bolivia on the exploration and exploitation of uranium mines.
After his meeting with the president, the IAEA chief said there are “several nuclear development projects in Bolivia,” including one to “explore uranium mines.”
Meanwhile, Beltran stressed Thursday that Bolivia is not currently producing or exporting uranium, as the Israel government claimed this week when it accused the Andean country and Venezuela of providing that mineral for Iran’s nuclear program.
“It’s a tall tale, it’s a lie, because Bolivia doesn’t export even one milligram to any part of the world. It doesn’t export because it doesn’t exploit uranium,” he said.
Earlier this week, Morales’ chief of staff, Juan Ramon Quintana, called Israel’s accusations “ridiculous” and said they would “only occur to a clown.”
Quintana said Bolivia’s relations with Iran are “totally transparent” and aimed at “industrialization projects.” EFE