While Bolivia’s state-owned tin enterprises, EM Huanuni and EM Vinto, have ambitious expansion plans for the next few years, their production has declined a little in the first nine months of this year. Production of tin-in-concentrates at the Huanuni mine fell by 7.7% year-on-year to 6,714 tonnes in January-September, while refined tin production at the nearby Vinto smelter declined by 1.1% to 8,421 tonnes.
National tin production was, however, supported by better performance by private companies. Total Bolivian tin-in-concentrate production in the nine months to September was 14,735 tonnes, down 1.2% year-on-year, with the fall in Huanuni’s production partly offset by a rise in output from the Colquiri zinc-tin mine operated by Glencore subsidiary Sinchi Wayra and small mines and co-operatives. Total national refined tin production fell 1.1% to 11,154 tonnes, with the fall at Vinto countered by higher production by OMSA.
Comibol president Hector Cordova confirmed last month that construction work for a US$50 million new concentrator at Huanuni was about to begin, with the existing mill to be converted to the processing of lead-zinc-silver ore. The expansion of the Vinto smelter is more advanced, but it will not be possible to increase tin metal production significantly until the mine project is completed.