Bolivia Table of Contents
Indian woman shoveling salt at the Uyuni Salpan, Potosí
Courtesy Inter-American Foundation (Kevin Healy)
Mining tungsten in the Kami mine, Cochabamba Department
From 1557 to 1985, the mining industry dominated the Bolivian economy. By 1985, however, the production of every significant mineral in the country had failed to exceed the output registered in 1975. Moreover, the international tin market crashed in 1985. The mining sector in 1987 accounted for only 4 percent of GDP, 36 percent of exports, 2.5 percent of government revenues, and 2 percent of the labor force, compared with 8 percent of GDP, 65 percent of exports, 27 percent of government revenues, and about 6 percent of the labor force in 1977. Spurred by a massive increase in gold production, however, the mining sector rebounded in 1988, returning to the top of the nation's list of foreign exchange earners.
Data as of December 1989