Construction of the new 3,000 tpd ore processing plant at Bolivia’s largest tin mine is almost finished, local sources have told ITRI, although commissioning has not started. The facility at Comibol’s Huanuni mine has been built by the Chinese contractor Vicstar Union Engineering under a US$50 million contract awarded in 2011. Construction of a tailings dam next to the plant is still underway. The investment is linked to the much-delayed expansion of the Bolivia’s Vinto smelter, although so far there has been little or no progress in boosting underground mining capacity to match that of the concentrator and smelter.
Latest official figures show that Bolivia’s national mine production of tin-in-concentrates rose by 3.7% to 14,447 tonnes in the nine months to October. The two state-controlled mines, Huanuni and Colquiri, produced 8,910 tonnes, or 62% of the total, with the balance coming from private mines and co-operatives. In the same period production by the Vinto smelter increased by 9.2% year-on-year to 8,602 tonnes, while national refined tin production rose by 7.8% to 11,352 tonnes.