Bolivia Spending $500,000 in Search for Uranium


"It's a research and exploration project."

Bolivia has launched a small project to look for uranium in the central Potosi region, the Mining Ministry said on Monday.

The government of leftist President Evo Morales is investing some $500,000 in the project, said Hugo Delgado, the head of Sergeotecmin, the body responsible for geological studies.

"It's a research and exploration project," he told Reuters, adding that his office should be able to release the results of the study by the end of the year. "We've got a study from 1970, but it does not state the size of reserves."

He did not say whether the government had any plans to mine its uranium reserves, if it eventually finds large deposits.

Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez, an ally of Morales, said late last year his country is working with Russia to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

His government had previously said that Iranian officials were helping Venezuela to look for uranium, with preliminary tests indicating big deposits.

Chavez said Venezuela would only use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, adding that neither Venezuela nor Iran was planning to build a nuclear bomb.

Both Chavez and Morales are fierce critics of U.S. foreign policy and have forged close ties with Iran, Russia and China in recent years.

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