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Bolivia has a long history as a mining country During the Colonial period the Cerro Ricco de Potosi mine enriched the Spanish Empire with the enormous quantities of silver it produced for over four hundred years And throughout the years of tin was often found along side the silver being mined At the tail end of Colonial silver mining large quantity of tin was discarded as waste In 1865 the price of silver began declining in response to several factors rich deposits were found in California a declining demand in Eastern Countries and the increased use of paper as currency When silver collapsed on the International Market it was impossible to transfer the technology and communications to other metals Yet an expansion of world demand for tin in canning and other industrial uses allowed Bolivia to capitalize on its resources and quickly respond to international demand The availability of cheap labor and railroad transportation in Bolivia meant suddenly it became profitable for Bolivia to ship this mineral making the transition from silver to tin a relatively easy one for the Bolivian economy to make Klein 163 Around the same time in 1894 a man named Simon Patino purchased his first share in a tin mine The mine was in Orerro in the canton of Unicia on the border of the province of Potosi Patino was a mestizo white collar mine employee who ended up purchasing full control of the mine by 1897 In 1900 he struck one of the richest veins ever found in Bolivia Acquiring vast European holdings in nonmining and mining-related investments eventually made Patino one of the fourth wealthiest men in the world Managers for Patino Mines dictated policy to the Bolivian government As Bolivias most powerful capitalist he often extended large private loans to the government for tax concessions and political favors holding virtual
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