Comibol wants to review JV contracts with co-ops

- Thursday, March 15, 2007

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Bolivia's state mining company Comibol has proposed reviewing joint venture contracts between mining cooperatives and private companies.

"The idea is to improve the quality of the contracts and simultaneously improve income for mining cooperatives and the state," an official at Bolivia's mining ministry told BNamericas.

The initiative - which will be discussed by the government and mining cooperatives during talks aimed at defining new sector policies - is based on the fact that social and economic conditions in the sector are no longer the same, the official said.

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"Also because minerals are trading at good prices on the international market," the executive added, without providing details on the possible contract changes.

OPERATIONS

There are several mines in Bolivia operating or being developed under JV contracts with cooperatives including an agreement with Empresa Minera Manquiri, the Bolivian subsidiary of US miner Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE, TSX: CDM), which works the San Bartolomé silver project in Potosí's Cerro Rico.

The cooperative Minera Pulacayo also holds a JV with Toronto-based firm Apogee Minerals (TSX-V: APE) to mine zinc, silver and lead in the Pulacayo area, 460km from La Paz.

Another JV exists between Cooperativa Minera Poopó and Sinchi Wayra to mine silver, lead and zinc at the Poopó project in Oruro department.

Also, the Japo cooperative holds a contract with US and Canadian-owned company Aitcobol SRL which mines tin at the San Florencio, Japo and Catavi projects located in Oruro and Potosí departments.

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