Country Risk

Increased military presence in Bolivia’s southwestern departments highlights operational capacity of criminal networks in border, mining areas

28 February 2019


On 26 February, the government sent the first of 120 soldiers to the state-owned Huanuni tin mine in Oruro department as part of a new security plan to reduce theft.

Around USD2 million worth of tin is estimated to be stolen at Huanuni a month – representing one-third of production – despite USD10 million invested in security over the last decade, a constant police or private security presence at the site, and an August 2018 law increasing prison sentences for mineral theft. The government is also increasing the military presence along its border with Chile in La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí departments in an effort to reduce levels of contraband, including 25 new military checkpoints and 8,000 troops deployed for a border closure in December.

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