Mining concession nationalised
President Evo Morales has signed an executive order to nationalise the Malku Khota project, about 200 miles south of the capital, currently run by a Canadian company, South American Silver Corp.
The company has issued a statement on its website which reads as follows:
“South American Silver Corp. today expressed extreme disappointment in statements made this evening by the Bolivian government that it intends to nationalize the company’s development stage Malku Khota silver-indium-gallium project.
South American Silver has not received any formal notice from the Bolivian Government about the cancellation of its concession and is actively seeking clarification about the government’s intentions.
“We strongly object to the government’s stated course of actions and we will pursue all legal, constitutional and diplomatic options,” said Greg Johnson, President and CEO of South American Silver.
This action is surprising in light of the fact the company continues to receive the support from the 43 out of 46 indigenous communities in the project area. South American Silver has worked closely with these local indigenous communities over the past several years providing significant direct employment on project related jobs, as well as jointly developing programs with the communities to facilitate job training, education, agricultural enhancement and water management for long-term sustainable development.
Since 2007 the company has invested well over $16 million in the discovery and exploration of the Malku Khota site. South American Silver’s proprietary leach technology, developed over the past 4 years on the project, is key to development of the Malku Khota project to its fullest potential. Ongoing exploration and any future mine development would result in up to 1,000 jobs for local workers in the community.
Mining is a key industry in Bolivia and this proposed action by the state sends a strongly negative message to potential investors and developers about the security of title for their investment in the developing country.”