Potosi Bolivia Protests: San Cristobal Mine Losing $2 Million per Day

La Razón, La Paz, 12 August, 2010: The San Cristobal mining company has ceased activities and is losing two million dollars per day. The measure was taken because protesters in Potosí have overtaken a hydroelectric station that supplies its energy.

This information was provided by Mining Minister José Pimental, who explained yesterday that the company has been forced to paralyze production because the inhabitants of Yura have taken over the hydroelectric station that provides its energy.

"In view of this situation, San Cristobal has stopped production but has not ceased operating and will be doing maintenance instead; however, this change in activities is resulting in losses of close to two million dollars, the amount San Cristobal exports per day".

Meanwhile, the company made known to La Razón its concern over what is happening. "We found out, through the media, of the threats made by some social organizations in Potosí against the company, such as the threat of cutting of electricity in the region in which we operate and physically taking over the mine," it stated in a press release.

It adds that the mining company "generates thousands of direct and indirect jobs and contributes $130,000 per day to the department of Potosí in the form of royalties," Pimentel reiterated that the Government is willing to dialogue with Potosí authorities who are leading this border conflict, which continues after 14 days.

San Cristobal is one of the country's most important zinc, lead and silver mines, due to its capacity. It produces mainly zinc-silver and lead-silver concentrates for export.

$1.4 billion dollars have been invested in the San Cristobal mine, destined to areas such as exploration, mine preparation, the construction of a plant, and infrastructure.

San Cristobal is located in the province of Nor Lípez. "The company is surprised because once again, it is being affected by demands that have noting to do with its operations," it stated in its press release.

Opposition party members say the State is absent

In the Legislative Assembly opposition party members assured that the State is not present in Potosí and suggested the resolution of this conflict be given over to Parliament. "We propose that tomorrow (today) a proposal that will attend to Potosí's petitions be debated in the Legislative Assembly," said Jaime Navarro, of the UN party.

Today the Legislative Assembly must elect trustees to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Meanwhile, congressman Adrián Oliva (of the PPB-CN party) assured the Government has shown itself unable to solve conflicts.

"The State is absent in many regions of the country and it's clear the Government has lost control of the territory," he said.

Read this Article in Spanish

Source: La Razón
Date: 12-Aug-2010

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