BOLIVIA, July 8 -- Bolivia's Vinto tin smelter will increase production to 20,000 metric tons a year during 2011 after it adds a new $25 million blast furnace, Mining Minister Jose Pimentel said.
This represents a 54 percent rise over the 13,000 metric tons of tin Vinto is projected to produce this year, Pimentel said today in an interview in La Paz. Construction of a new blast furnace is under way at the smelter, he said.
"We think that with construction of the new blast furnace next year we will produce 20,000 tons," said Pimentel.
The Vinto smelter was seized by President Evo Morales's government from Glencore International AG in 2007. Bolivia was the world's seventh-largest refined tin producer in 2009. The world’s top producer was China, followed by Indonesia, Malaysia and Peru.
The Vinto tin smelter will increase production 10 percent in 2010 from the previous year, said Pimentel. Vinto produced 11,805 metric tons of refined tin in 2009 and 9,544 metric tons of refined tin in 2008.