Travel in Bolivia
2018 day trip to the Coro Coro copper deposit
A tourist card on the edge of the road from La Paz to CoroCoro
The place Coro Coro is located at 3980 meters altitude in the Cordillera de los Andes, about 130 kilometers by road southwest of La Paz in the La Paz department of the same name. There was probably a settlement at this place as early as the Inca times, as described in the book 'Beneficio de Metales' by Pastor Barba from Potosí from 1612.
The undoubted reason for people to settle here was the large copper deposits, some of which were brought to light together with small amounts of gold. This is probably where the name Coro Coro, which is derived from Cocororo = inferior gold, comes from.
After several centuries of profitable mining of copper in Coro Coro, the fall in international metal prices and the simultaneous political reorientation of Bolivia towards neoliberalism, the closure of state mines and the escape of miners to the big cities occurred in 1985. Monuments all over the city still bear witness to the past, glorious times.
Although the state mining company COMIBOL has resumed copper production since October 2009 and a plant for the production of copper cathodes has also been installed, the place with only around 11,000 inhabitants still looks pretty deserted.
Since the miners of the state mine are very strictly controlled, it is not possible to get any mineral grades from there. But as everywhere in Bolivia, there are small cooperatives of miners in Coro Coro who dig for copper at their own expense in the vicinity of the mine. Some of these mineros have also recognized the sale of collector minerals as a source of income.
Pseudomorphoses from solid copper to aragonite
Unfortunately, the pseudomorphoses are only available in very clear quantities
Native copper sheets are also offered
These are mostly covered with cuprite
This in situ aragonite crystal did not make it to copper pseudomorphism
'Barrier' of a cooperative against unwelcome visitors
Basílica Menor Santa Bárbara de Caquingora - Foundation stone laid in 1560 by Franciscan monks. One of the many beautiful buildings from the colonial days of Bolivia
And then it's back to La Paz. The shopping was - as feared - quite clear, but the excursion itself was very nice and entertaining.
Shortly after Coro Coro we encounter architectural evidence of the colonial era ...
... and on the main road to La Paz the first harbingers of the upcoming carnival!