Bolivia's mining exports drop through July

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bolivia's mining exports fell 7.1% year-on-year to US$989mn, the country's statistics office said in a report.

Exports fell due to lower metals prices, while state mining company Comibol was forced to close both its Karachipampa silver-lead smelter and the El Mutún iron ore mine last year. Nationwide protests against President Evo Morales in July also hampered mining and metallurgical operations.

Zinc exports dropped 7.7% to US$484mn, while those of silver slid 1.3% to US$347mn and copper and antimony both fell by half to US$17.4mn and US$1.5mn, respectively. Tungsten exports were down 43.9% to US$8.4mn and those of tin fell 39.8% to US$5.6mn, the agency said.

Lead exports climbed 6.5% to US$85.3mn, while gold sales abroad rose 12.9% to US$16.4mn. Officials in both Peru and Bolivia admit Peruvian illegal gold miners are smuggling their output through neighboring Bolivia following a government crackdown.

Refined gold exports, which are reported separately, rose 3.6% to US$442mn, while refined tin exports climbed 4.5% to US$160mn and those of silver were up 18.6% to US$62.6mn, the agency said. Refined antimony exports plunged 59.4% to US$6.3mn, while copper cathode exports fell 26.4% to US$4.1mn, according to the agency.

Overall, Bolivian exports dropped 26% to US$4.05bn in January-July from US$5.47bn a year earlier. Oil and gas exports, which slumped by half to US$1.26bn, accounted for the bulk of the total.

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