|Bolivia is Tibet of the American continent: among the republics of
Latin America it is mostly that isolated and situated to the more altitudes elevated.
Bolivia extends him on a labyrinth of mountains, hills and irregular valleys up to
the vast forests of the Rio of the Amazzoni, and is characterized from deeply
different geographical and climatic zones among them. This country
possesses imposing landscapes, colonial treasures, different native cultures and rests of
mysterious ancient civilizations. Its natural attractions space from the top of the
Cordillera of the Andeses to the severe beauty and the amazing colors of the lakes and the
deserts, from the river streets suffocated by the jungle. To visit Bolivia is
as to cross an enormously distant world from ours, with cultural and social
characteristics, traditions, landscapes and people deeply variegated among them.
The visit of Bolivia surely has to include the stupendous Andean
landscapes of the colored lagoons to the border with Chile, the endless expanse of salt of
the Salares Uyuni, the ancient city of Tiahuanaco, the legendary mines of Potosė, the
colored native markets, the elaborate colonial cities.
From the mining point
of view Bolivia has covered an important role in the past with the famous mine of Potosė
that has developed a fundamental role for the development and the following decadence of
the Spanish domination.
2) Huanuny Mine
3) Cerro Rico - Potosė
7) Trinacria Mine - Poopo
8) Salares de Uyuni
Oruro is an important mineral district, in the top of the town there is the monument to the mineras and under the church you can visit the tunnel of an old mine. In the mountain there is the San Josč Mine in which is possible find small gypsum crystals, ...now the mines are mostly closed.
The town is in the center of a number of mines that depart from this area and arrive to Potosi', among the others, minerals extracted by this area are silver, lead, tin ,etc.
The city was founded in 1606 and close to the town there is a volcanic cone with several silver veins. The area was first developed for the silver veins, but later it became very important due to the tin production. Some very interesting and rare minerals come from this group of mines, among which cylindrite, andorite, teallite and Frankeite.
Huanuny is a small minerary village with mining tools and systems still now very rudimentary and poor.
The miners are not allowed to sell the minerals and they can be fired in case they sell you some samples ( vivianite, mainly ).
Along the creek coming out of the mine and near the river it is possible to observe some small decantation basins used by the local people to find some mineral (cassiterite concentrates) that is discarded by the main mine works.
The most important minerals from this mine are Vivianite, Cassiterite, Fluorite, ecc.
Potosi was the most important mineralogical center of the Andes and still now Cerro Rico is the most famous silver mine of the country. The discovery of ore in silver-rich Cerro Rico (rich hill) by Indian Diego Huallpa in 1544 prompted the foundation of the city of Potosí on April 10th, 1545 at the foot of the hill. The city was born under the name of Villa Imperial de Carlos V, in honor of then Spanish king Carlos V. Its founder was Juan de Villarroel. Large-scale excavation began in the site immediately and the first of the silver was sent to Spain. In 1672, a mint was established to coin silver and water reservoirs were built to fulfill the growing population's needs. At that time more than eighty six churches were built and the city's population increased to nearly 200,000, making it one of the largest and wealthiest city in Latin America and in the world. On December 11, 1987 (in Paris, France), the UNESCO declared the city of Potosí a "World Heritage Site" in recognition for its rich history and its wealth of colonial architecture. This mine and this city were of worldwide importance at the time of the Spanish empire and essential to Spain.
Now the works on the Cerro Rico mine are in practice stopped, they continue on non industrial scale, due to the personal initiative of some miners that alone or in small cooperatives continue to exploit the mine mainly with hand tools.
Nowadays it is possible to visit the mine and even to participate to the mining activity, ask in the city for this...
Close to one of the entrance of the mine there is a totem representing a god half man and half devil to whom the miners give some offers, mainly coca leaves and alcohol, tobacco and other things to ask for lucky in finding some new mineral veins .
Close to the mine there is also a small market selling all the possible tools useful in the mining activity: coca leaves, alcool, dynamite, lights, etc.
The Llallagua Mine is located 75 Km southeast of Oruro; this mine is very famous among the minerals collectors for the exceptional gemmy quality cassiterite crystals, wolframite, stannite, wurtzite, bismuthinite, and especially for the rare phosphates in fantastic associations, among them the recent finds of vivianite and ludlamite in probably the best samples of the world.
Morococaca is an important mineral district situated in southeast area of Oruro; many important specimens came from these mine.
Just 25 Km south of Llallagua is the now abandoned Colquechaca mining camp, and in it there are two important mine named Embudo and Gallofa. From this mine many remarkable specimens: Pyrargyrite, Stephanite, Acanthite.
|Trinacria Mine - Poopo
The Santa Cruz and Trinacria Mine, located near Poopō produced one of the most unusual sulfosalts known: Cylindrite. Other minerals from these mines are Teallite and Franckeite.
|Salares de Huyuni
Salares de Uyuni is the largest Salar in the world, it look extraordinarily flat, white and smooth. The salar is a big ore of salt that is partially locally developed; in this area there are places here with a substantial lithium content