Web site navigation : home > South America > Patterns of Economic Development > Mining

Search this website ::

Patterns of Economic Development

Mining

Most mining for export is on a large scale. The long history of foreign corporate control of South American mining operations is waning because of national political pressures. Petroleum, copper, bauxite, and iron ore are the principal commodities in value and volume, but mineral exports are greatly diversified. South America is an important world producer of lead, zinc, manganese, and tin. Although all South American countries have some mineral production, Venezuela's oil and gas account for more than half the total value of the continent's output. Mineral production is of great importance to several national economies. Venezuela's exports are dominated by crude and refined petroleum, and derivatives, while the dependence on mineral exports is somewhat less in Suriname, Bolivia, and Chile. Peru and, in recent years, Ecuador, have relied heavily on the sale of minerals. Such exports generate government revenue, but mining contributes little to continental GDP and employment. Nevertheless, mineral commodities are important to the continent's growing industrial diversification.

Search this website ::