Bolivia’s Morales threatens to “nationalize” Malku Kota silver project – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – July 9, 2012)posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Latin America Mining, Mining Conflict |
Fresh off the expropriation of the Quinto smelter, Bolivia’s president has now set his sights on the troubled Malku Khota project, a target of violent protests and kidnappings.
RENO (MINEWEB) - Bolivian President Evo Morales reportedly told a farmers’ group Sunday that Bolivia will consider nationalizing South American Silver’s silver property. Morales stressed he had not made a final decision on whether or not to revoke the concession for the Malku Khota project, Reuters reported.
“Nationalism is our obligation, I already raised the issue of nationalizing [the Malku Khota project] last year, and I told [local residents] to reach an agreement, because when they want, we’re going to nationalize,” he said.
In a statement Sunday, South American Silver said Bolivian authorities “continue in their efforts to restore peace and order to the Malku Khota region in the face of acts of aggression being perpetrated against law-abiding local indigenous communities, police, the company’s employees and its local contractors.
While four hostages-three drill contractors and a Bolivian government prosecutor-who were kidnapped by indigenous residents of Malku Khota were freed during a government security action. Two Bolivian employees of Compania Minera Maliku Khota and a policeman continue to be held, said South American Silver.
However, Reuters reported the police officer, who had been held hostage since Thursday, and the Bolivian employees were also freed by Sunday afternoon. The Erbol radio network said the engineers were accused of “spying and violating traditions or customers of the [local] peoples during an indigenous hearing.”
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