National Geographic : 1976 Aug
Puerto Ordaz. Driving down the broad ave nues and neat side streets already built is like a journey through a futuristic ghost town. Ciudad Guayana is a metropolis in search of a population (page 190). Honing Steel for the Future The pillar of the community-and the fu ture national economy-will be steel. I drove eighty miles south of Ciudad Guayana to find its major source, stair-stepped Cerro Boli var, where for 22 years men and machines have been stripping off iron ore. "It's like tak ing the peel from an orange," said Eduardo Boccardo, spokesman for CVG's mining com pany, Ferrominera Orinoco, as we stood atop the 1,600-foot promontory. Nearby, dust rose like fog as a power shovel bit into the hill and in three gulps loaded a house-size truck with ninety tons of ore. Cerro Bolivar furnishes 60 percent of the country's iron ore and will last another 25 years at the present rate of mining. "When this is finished, more lies over there," said Sefior Boccardo, pointing to a line of blue hills in the distance. Ninety percent of the 25 million tons of ore annually produced here is exported-but expansion of the SIDOR steel mill at Ciudad Guayana promises to change that. "Within ten years we may not be exporting ore at all," a company representative told me.