Yuan seen likely to break below 8 to the dollar next week

Section:

Bolivia: No Plans to Nationalize U.S.-Run Silver Mines

From Dominican Today
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Friday, May 5, 2006

http://www.dominicantoday.com/app/article.aspx?id=13128

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia's socialist government said Thursday that
it has no plans to nationalize U.S.-operated silver mines in the
Andean province of Potosi.

Development Planning Minister Carlos Villegas said Thursday at a
press conference that "at no time did the government say that it
would enter into a process of nationalization" of the operations of
Apex Silver Mines Ltd. and Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp.

"Therefore, there is full certainty and legal security," he added.

Shares of both companies fell Monday on U.S. stock exchanges on
fears that the firms' operations would be nationalized by La Paz.

The uneasiness of investors stems from the recent decision by
Bolivian President Evo Morales to take absolute control of his
country's fossil fuels and his repeated warnings that he would do
the same thing with other natural resources.

Apex Silver has been preparing to start operations next year to
exploit the San Cristobal mine, the country's largest silver deposit
in which the firm intends to invest up to $800 million.

Coeur d'Alene Mines, meanwhile, is directing the San Bartolome
operation to exploit the reserves around the famous Cerro Rico de
Potosi, which dates from the Spanish colonial era.

The government will present to Congress modifications of the mining
code, in which a hike in taxes and royalties for mining firms is
expected.

"That doesn't mean we're going to change the legal security of the
firms that are operating within the current legal framework," said
Villegas.

In earlier statements, Mining Minister Walter Villarroel also ruled
out nationalizing the Amayapampa silver mine, which is run by
Canada's Luzon Minerals.

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