Labor dispute costing Bolivia No 2 tin mine millions
Bolivia's leftist government headed by President Mr Evo Morales took over operations at the Colquiri mine in June after weeks of violent protests. The takeover drew an angry response from its former owner, global commodities trader Glencore.
State mining company Comibol, which has been running the mine since it was returned to state control said that the conflict between public sector miners and independent miners could end up affecting production at the Vinto smelter. Vinto buys almost all its tin concentrate from Colquiri, where zinc is also mined.
Mr Hector Cordova president of Comibol said that "We're losing more than USD 250,000 per day through lost production and this has been going on for 2 weeks. That means an accumulated loss of almost USD 4 million."
The conflict that prompted Morales' administration to seize control of the mine three months ago flared up again at the start of September. Miners, who remain at odds over who has the right to exploit the richest part of the mine's resources, have been blocking highways and staging protests since September 1st 2012 paralyzing operations.
Under the decree that rescinded Glencore's contract, an independent cooperative that had mined one area of the site was allowed to continue working there.
Mr Cordova said that Colquiri should produce about 3,000 tonnes of tin concentrates this year, representing about 15% of estimated national output of some 21,000 tonnes. Most of the rest of Bolivia's tin is produced at the state run Huanuni mine.