Government aims to negotiate control of tin mines with Glencore

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bolivian government is negotiating state participation in the Bolívar, Colquiri and Porco tin mines controlled by Swiss group Glencore International, Bolivia's deputy mining minister Pedro Mariobo told BNamericas.

Talks are aimed at allowing the state to hold at least a 55% stake in the mines, which are operated by Glencore's local subsidiary Sinchi Wayra, he said.

"If we don't negotiate with the parent company, we are not going to get anywhere," added the official.

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The efforts are part of a government policy to regain control over natural resources. "In some cases it's done directly; in others, it's through negotiation and in others, by buying shares. So there are a variety of routes depending on the situation," Mariobo explained.

Glencore has operated the Bolívar, Colquiri and Porco mines since 2005. In February 2007, Bolivia's President Evo Morales expropriated the Vinto metallurgical complex from Sinchi Wayra and returned it to state power.


The government is also aiming to negotiate a larger stake in the San Vicente polymetallic mine in Potosí where Canadian miner Pan American Silver (TSX: PAA) controls 95%, Mariobo said.

Pan American has operated the mine since 1997.