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Markets // Market Analysis

New Huanuni plant to begin limited operations in 2018

Friday, 24 November 2017

The General Manager of Bolivia's largest tin mine, Huanuni, has announced that the mine's new processing plant should begin small-scale operations from March 2018.

The 3,000tpd Lucianita plant was built by the Chinese contractor Vicstar Union Engineering under a US$50 million contract awarded in 2011 with the purpose of replacing the ageing Santa Elena plant currently in operation at the mine. However, the new plant has not yet been utilised since its completion in late 2014 due to issues related to supply of water, power and tailings capacity.

While the company's plans to start operating the plant in March 2018, only a small part of its capacity will be utilised, with the plant not expected to run at full capacity until at least Q2 2019.

ITRI View: The Huanuni mine produced 6,460 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate in 2016, down 25% from 2015. A severe drought was an extraordinary factor affecting output last year and monthly production has since recovered since, although the ongoing reliance on the ageing Santa Elena plant continues to have a negative impact on performance. This will continue to limit any potential expansion of tin output from the mine until the new plant enters full operation in at least two years' time.

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