The Ausmelt furnace that Bolivia’s Vinto metallurgical complex (EMV) is installing will be up and running in H2, an official from state miner Comibol told BNamericas. “Right now, the last pieces of equipment are being installed and the testing stage is beginning,” the official said. The civil works to install the Ausmelt furnace began in the middle of January 2011. It was expected to be operational in November last year, but the project has faced delays.
The new furnace will increase EMV’s tin capacity by 90% and minimize the export of concentrates. With the furnace operating, EMV will need 80% of the national production of tin ore. The remaining 20% will be used by private smelter OMSA,” the official said.
Newly released official figures show that the market shares of EMV and OMSA in 2011 were 76% and 24% respectively. EMV’s production fell by 5.4% to 10,960 tonnes, while OMSA’s rose 4.8% to 3,557 tonnes. Officially recorded exports of tin concentrates amounted to 2,626 tonnes gross weight, valued at US$68 million, although we believe this underestimates the size of this trade.