The completion of the expansion project at ’s , due next year, will allow the country to treat all concentrates produced there. The state-owned company is installing a new furnace which will allow it to produce up to 18,000 tonnes of a year, subject to raw materials availability.

“With the beginning of operations of the Vinto Ausmelt furnace and the contribution of the private smelter Operaciones Metalúrgicas SA (OMSA) we will be able to catch all the tin minerals of the country. At the moment, the national tin mine production is some 19,000 tonnes a year; Vinto consumes 12,000 tonnes, OMSA up to 4,000 tonnes and the surplus is exported”, the vice-minister of Metallurgy and Mining Development, Freddy Beltrán told La Razon newspaper.

The vice-minister was speaking as a government decree to approve the payment of higher salaries to top management at the state-owned smelter was passed. The decree removed a previously established salary cap and was justified by the need to retain key staff who might otherwise move to the private sector. Vinto’s finances have been stretched this year by the major capital expenditure required to modernise the operation.