A fresh dispute between workers at Bolivia’s Colquiri tin-zinc mine and independent co-operative miners has disrupted production there for the second time this year. Following the first dispute in May-June the mine, previously operated by Glencore subsidiary Sinchi Wayra, was nationalised and came under the control of state mining entity Comibol. “We’re losing more than $250,000 per day through lost production and this has been going on for two weeks. That means an accumulated loss of almost $4 million,” Comibol President Hector Cordova told Reuters. The mine produced 2,200 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate in 2011 and had been expanding prior to the current troubles.
The conflict that prompted the nationalisation 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 1 September, 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 Under the decree that rescinded Glencore’s contract, an independent cooperative that had mined one area of the site was allowed to continue working there. Colquiri’s unionized mine workers accused the independent miners of violating the terms of the state takeover, which was agreed by both sides, and called for them to be barred from the site.