Bolivia’s Karachipampa plant has started to melt mineral complexes and is expected to produce lead ingots with 99.8% purity this month and silver ingots from September, according to the country’s mining ministry.

The plant, constructed in the 1980s, has not operated before due to a lack of local concentrates.

Karachipampa has acquired 7,000 tonnes of lead concentrate with 60% grade from Minera San Cristóbal, and plans to buy another 8,500 tonnes from the same company.

According to mining minister César Navarro, the smelter will be fed initially with lead and silver concentrates from Minera San Cristóbal and state-owned Comibol

“With Karachipampa, we are taking a historical step in the process of mining industrialisation in the country,” said Navarro in a statement.

The plant has the capacity to treat 51,000 tonnes of sulphide concentrates of lead and silver per year.

Danielle Assalve
Twitter: dassalve_mb