Indian company to produce gas in Bolivia

April 25th, 2009 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

La Paz, April 25 (EFE) India’s Jindal Steel and Power expects to start producing gas in Bolivia in June for export to Argentina, company representatives told the Andean nation’s president here.
Vikrant Gujral, vice president of the steel and energy major, told reporters about the company’s plans after Friday’s meeting with President Evo Morales, saying the gas supplies would come from a processing plant in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.

The company and its Bolivian partners began drilling at the El Palmar gas field at the end of March and have already invested around $7 million in the project.

Gujral said Morales was also informed about the progress in developing El Mutun, a giant iron ore field located in eastern Bolivia near the Brazilian border.

Jindal Steel has been working since 2007 at El Mutun, which is believed to contain some 40 billion tonnes of iron ore, making it one of the world’s largest deposits of the mineral.

The company has pledged to invest $2.1 billion in El Mutun over the next 40 years as part of a joint-venture deal with the Bolivian government.

Extraction of iron ore at El Mutun has been delayed because at least half of the 6,000 hectares that the Bolivian government assigned to Jindal to develop the deposit constitutes privately owned property that must be expropriated.

Gujral also told reporters that Mining Minister Luis Alberto Echazu was present at the meeting with Morales and that the head of state instructed him to work on resolving the land-ownership issues.

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