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Value of Bolivian mineral exports, including zinc, copper, gold, sags 10% to $1.2 bil Jan-Aug


Bolivia's minerals exports dropped 10.4% to $1.2 billion in January-August from a year earlier due to declining metals prices and a month-long protest in the mining region of Potosi, the government said Monday.

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Zinc concentrates exports fell 4.8% to $592 million, while silver dropped 20% to $386.6 million and lead fell 17.6% to $87.9 million, the country's National Statistics Institute said in a statement.

Tungsten sales dropped 18.8% to $16.7 million, while tin fell 17.8% to $10.2 million and antimony dropped 10.4% to $3.7 million, the institute said.

Copper exports rose 4.5% to $35.8 million, while gold jumped 43.5% to $16.2 million. The governments of both Peru and Bolivia have admitted Peruvian illegal miners are smuggling gold shipments across the Bolivian border.

Refined gold exports, which are reported separately, fell by half to $490.7 million and refined silver dropped 23.5% to $64.7 million. Refined tin fell 23.5% to $175.4 million, while copper cathodes dropped 24% to $7.3 million as slumping prices offset the start-up of state mining company Comibol's Karachipampa smelter in September 2014.

Bolivia's total exports fell 31.5% to $6.18 billion from $9 billion in January-August 2014.

Bolivia produced 19,287 mt of tin, 407,332 mt of zinc, 82,131 mt of lead, 7,549 mt of copper and 41.2 million oz silver in 2013, the most recent available figure, according to the Mining Ministry.

--Alex Emery,
--Edited by Lisa Miller,