The agreement calls for a $1.5-billion investment by Jindal in the first five years, followed by $2.1 billion during the estimated 40 years it will take before the mine is exhausted.
"I know its Bolivia's biggest project and I want to see that it is carried out well," said Vikrant Gujral, Jindal Steel vice president.

"The work is done. We've waited more than 50 years for this," said Evo Morales, Bolivian president, who was present at the signing ceremony in eastern Santa Cruz city along with Gujral and Walter Chavez, Empresa Siderurgica president.

The joint agreement resulted from what Morales called "very tough" negotiations that began in June 2006.