VENEZUELA: Backland Bonanza

Inland from Venezuela's Caribbean coast some 200 miles, the swift, black Caroni River plunges into the chocolate-colored Orinoco. Southward from this junction of two mighty streams lie jungles and sandy scrublands studded with low, reddish mountains. This poor-looking expanse is one of the world's great storehouses of iron. West of the Caroni looms Cerro Bolivar, blanketed with 500 million tons of high-grade ore. Farther west lies another iron mountain, El Trueno, endowed with 150 million tons. On the other side of the Caroni. Bethlehem Steel Corp. gathers up 3,000,000 tons of ore a year from El Pao. and barely...

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