Ministry: Current metals prices guarantee output

- Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ministry: Current metals prices guarantee output

Bolivia's mining and metallurgy ministry reported that, although low, metals prices are stable enough to guarantee ongoing production despite the nosedive they took in late 2008.

The ministry said tin was trading at an average of US$9.13/lb in 2008 compared to roughly US$6.49/lb in 2007 and US$3.89/lb in 2006.

Tin is currently trading at roughly US$4.90/lb.

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"We are certain that metals prices will stabilize within those parameters and stop falling so steeply. They might even register a slight, but important, improvement," the country's mining director Freddy Beltrán was quoted as saying by state news agency ABI.

Bolivia's largest tin producer is state company Empresa Minera Huanuni (EMH), which is located on Posokoni hill.

SILVER

The report said the price of silver has behaved in the same way.

In 2008, silver traded at an average of US$17.25/oz, which was higher than previous years. The average was US$13.32/oz in 2007.

Beltrán said silver is currently enjoying the highest prices seen in 14 years which guarantees continued production.

Bolivia's largest silver project is San Bartolomé, held by US miner Coeur d'Alene (NYSE: CDE, TSX: CDM), which mines at Cerro Rico hill in Potosí department.

San Cristóbal, owned by Canada's Apex Silver Mines (AMEX: SIL), is another major project in the country that recently applied for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The ministry reported that the outlook for lead and zinc prices are similar, although not quite as positive as tin and silver.

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