The Bolivian state-run tin mine, Huanuni, has reported an operational deficit of US$ 8 million for the first half of 2015 due to high labour costs and the low tin price, despite a cost cutting drive following poor financial performance at the beginning of the year, the Bolivian daily newspaper Pagina Siete reported. Tin production from the mine in 2014 totalled 8,437 tonnes.
According to local news reports, the Bolivian government agreed a series of cost cutting measures with workers from the Empresa Minera Huanuni (EMH) earlier this year in order to guarantee production from the mine. This followed a reported deficit of US$ 4 million in the first three months of the year where the mine produced 2,490 metric tons, averaging 622 tons per month. Measures included cuts to pay, pay caps and early retirement of some 564 older workers. As part of the original deal, EMH guaranteed production of at least 750 tonnes of tin per month to the Vinto smelter.
However, further measures are being debated in response to continuing losses. Reynaldo Villca, Secretary of Finance of the Union of Huanuni stated: “We are applying a second emergency plan to reverse the situation”. An increase in monthly production to 900 tonnes of tin has already been agreed between the authorities of the Ministry of Mining and Comibol. Mining officials have also indicated that 10% of the some 5,000 workers employed currently by EMH must be retired by the end of July or early August.