Bolivia Opens New Metallurgic Station

58La Paz, Oct 27 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian President Evo Morales is opening on Tuesday a state-run metallurgic station in this capital that will produce 3,500 annual tons of highly-pure copper.

  Mining Minister Luis Alberto Ecahzu said opening that factory in Corocoro locality coincides with the good times for metal prices, which currently exceed $3.00 per fine pound in the international market.

The station is expected to increase its production in a short term in five tons per year, he said.

Echazu stated that state-run Bolivian Mining Corporation (COMIBOL) has invested $18.5 million in this project, an amount it has planned to recover in three years.

With that production, the Andean country will resume its copper exports, which stopped in 1987, due to the closing of the companies’ operations.

The minister also said that Russia, South Korea and Japan, are among the possible markets, and clarified that they would elect the first buyer in early 2010, by means of a tender.

Echazu explained that once Corocoro’s production starts, the profits to La Paz department as royalties will be $1 million annually, 15 percent of which will go to the regional administration.

Corocoro has granted a concession to South Korean Kores Company, which in a joint venture with COMIBOL, has planned a copper production between six and eight times larger than that by the station that is opening on Tuesday.

The executive said the initial South Korean investment in copper exploitation would reach $10 million and it could reach $200 million in the two following years.

With these steps in copper production, Bolivia could become the third copper producing country in the world, after Peru and Chile.

Source: Prensa Latina

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