Bolivia’s Morales nationalizes zinc and tin mines licensed to Swiss group

Mercopress. June 11, 2012

Bolivia announced on Sunday the nationalization of the mining company Colquiri to the west of the country and which belongs to the Swiss group Glencore. The announcement by Minister of the Presidency, Juan Ramon Quintana, followed a meeting with the mining unions and the villages from Colquiri region.

“The government has decided to nationalize Colquiri which is a private company that belongs to Sinchi Wayra, a subsidiary from the mining group Glencore”, said Quintana.

The administration of President Evo Morales had already seized two metal foundries from Glencore in 2007 and 2010.

The Swiss company operates through Sinchi Wayra which controls Colquiri for the exploitation of zinc and tin with 400 miners.

The Bolivian government said that nationalization will not include areas in the region licensed to Cooperative February 26, although if its members so wish, the government can take care in a concerted way the control of the operations.

The leaders from the National Federation of Miners’ cooperatives, an influential group in the government of President Morales and with a strong capacity to take to the streets rejected the idea of nationalizing their sector and warned they will proceed to blockade roads in the country

Albino García one of the leaders of the cooperatives said that if the government moves into their sector they will respond with a national conflict.

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