Study recommends closing Telamayu smelter

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Citing high costs, a recent study has recommended the suspension of all activities at the bismuth smelting plant in Telamayu, located in Bolivian department Potosí, newspaper Los Tiempos reported.

The operation's bismuth treatment costs have climbed to US$2,364/t, due mostly to staff expenses, according to the report.

In November 2008 the Bolivian government invested US$1mn to revive the plant and take its production to 1t/d of bismuth ore with 99% purity for export to Russia.

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The plant operated from 1972-80 and the reactivation process took over 18 months.

However, since March bismuth bullion production has been irregular and this has only increased losses, which were already high due to considerable fuel consumption, the report stated.

Bismuth is used in alloys and in recent years has been used as a replacement for lead. Bismuth composites are used in cosmetics and medicines.