LA PAZ, July 8 -- Bolivia will seek bidders for construction of two zinc processing plants this year as the South American country aims to start processing the metal, said Mining Minister Jose Pimentel.
"The policies of this government are meant to start a metals revolution," Pimentel said yesterday in an interview in La Paz. "Today we are exporting the large majority of our minerals unprocessed, and we lose a lot of value."
The country aims to process 50 percent of the zinc from its domestic mines within four years, the minister said. Pimentel said the new plants may be located in the country's principal mining states of Oruro or Potosi in southwestern Bolivia.
In 2010's first quarter, the mineral-rich state of Potosi exported $212.5 million in zinc, according to the National Statistics Institute. Bolivia exported a total $465 million in minerals in the quarter, the institute reported.