LA PAZ – Bolivian state-owned mining company Comibol said Wednesday it will explore new deposits in the coming months in four of the nation’s nine regions, an effort aimed at confirming the existence of major veins of various minerals, including uranium.
The plan is to find “significant quantities” of tin, silver, gold, gallium, cobalt, copper, zinc, thorium and uranium, Comibol President Marcelino Quispe told state news agency ABI.
The nationwide exploration campaign will focus on parts of the provinces of Oruro, La Paz, Potosi, and Santa Cruz, Quispe said.
He said exploration work will be carried out this year in the northeastern part of Santa Cruz province, near the Brazilian border, in a bid to locate uranium reserves, though he added that Comibol still lacks specialists in this area.
Last September, Quispe said a uranium deposit was detected in eastern Bolivia and that Comibol had approached Russia and France regarding funding for exploration work, which he estimated would cost between $15 million and $20 million.
Bolivian President Evo Morales announced last year the launch of a civilian nuclear energy program, saying plants would be built in western Bolivia with an investment outlay of more than $2 billion through 2025.
Morales’ administration still has not indicated which countries will partner with Bolivia on the project, although the media has mentioned Argentina, Russia, France and Iran as possible allies.