Updated 07:49 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

Bolivia's Iron-Ore Mine Contract Awarded to China's Sinosteel

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The contract for the output processing in Bolivia's largest iron-ore mine was awarded to a Chinese-owned company.

Fox News Latino reported that steelmaker company Sinosteel Equipment was granted the contract for Bolivia's El Mutun mine in Santa Cruz province.

It explained the agreement was made to carry out a project, which includes the building of a steel complex at the mine, professional training of Bolivian personnel and adding more infrastructure.

As for the reason why Sinosteel was the chosen company, board members of the state-run mining company Empresa Siderurgica Mutun (ESM) Mining and Metallurgy Minister Cesar Navarro noted that the Chinese-owned steelmaker has a lot of experience and ample financial backing.

Sinosteel beat another Chinese-owned company, Henan Complant, for the El Mutun contract.

In a similar discussion, Steel Orbis noted that Bolivia previously hesitated to accept the same contractors for their previous projects.

However, the country still gave chances for these Chinese firms to submit their bids and proposals for the project.

Navarro noted that Sinosteel will ink a final contract with them soon.

"First, we hope that the [elected] company will not only deliver us the El Mutún [project], but will also let it start producing. Second, the product that the company will deliver should be commercially feasible and competitive, in other words, with ISO characteristics," the metallurgy minister said in the Steel Orbis report.

Based from their submitted proposals, Sinosteel reportedly gave an initial bid of $338 million of investment for the project, while competing companies proposed higher amounts, noting that these already included a gas pipeline and a steel pipe.

Earlier, the government of Bolivia expressed their plan of starting the project in the mine by 2019.

Prensa Latina added that the contract for the project will be formalized by next month, as per Navarro.

He said that the government and Sinosteel will agree on the international standards to be followed for the project, and maintaining the quality of the service and infrastructure.

According to Xinhua Finance, the project is aimed at producing 150,000 tons of rolled steel annually for the next 10 years.

This projection is expected to cover the demand for Bolivia's product, which is already being imported to other South American countries like Peru and Brazil.

Navarro explained that by completing the said project, the country will be able to acquire more than $230 million in savings.

For his part, ESM president Jose Alberto Padilla explained in a BN Americas write-up that the state spends the said amount on imported steel, but with the project completion, these imports will already be substituted.

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