Bolivar Mine, Bolivia

  • Overview

    An underground silver-zinc-lead mine located in Antequera near Oruro City, which was first mined in 1810. The current mine complex is comprised of an underground mine, concentrator plant, maintenace workshop, shaft-winder, tailings storage facility, water treatment plants, supplies warehouse, main office, hospital, and camp.

    The mine currently employs about 600 individuals and mining has been fully mechanized since he start of 2020 as a part of a broader safety initiative.

  • Location

    Bolívar Mine is located in the state of Oruro in Bolivia, and municipality of Antequera. Paved roads connect Bolivar to the capital city La Paz (298 km), Oruro City (75 km) and Poopó Rail Station (22 km) which is the concentrate warehouse and dispatch.

    Bolívar Mine, located within the municipality of Antequera is important to the neighboring communities of Antequera, Charcajara, Chapana and Quea Queani. The community of Antequera is immediately adjacent to the mine site and the largest community in the area of influence. The town is inhabited mainly by mine workers. Historically, it has been an area of intensive zinc, lead and tin mining so support, and service businesses have established themselves to serve the mine and its employees.


  • Operations and Infrastructure

    Paved roads connect Bolivar to the capital city La Paz (298 km), Oruro City (75 km) and Poopó Rail Station (22 km). Concentrates are transported by truck from Bolivar process plant to the rail station at Poopó (concentrate warehouse and dispatch) from where it is transported to a warehouse at Portezuelo outer Harbor, located 35 km from the city of Antofagasta, Chile.

    In addition to a network of paved roads, Bolivar also has access to rail for concentrate transport. Concentrate is hauled 22 km to the Poopó railway station with the trucking service contracted from local owners to help support the economin development of neighboring communities.

    The mill uses a crushing, grinding, and flotation flowsheet to recover a lead concentrate and a zinc concentrate. Both concentrates are sold to the Antafagasta smelter in Chile. The mill receives feed from 2 sources; the company mining operation and toll milling purchased through San Lucas. The mill processes the 2 types of feed separately which allows for an analysis of processing for both types of feed.

    The mine's electricity is supplied from the national grid with a 2.8MW diesel backup at the mine available for the plant thickeners and mine dewatering. The mine produces an excess of water from the underground mine. The water is than treated in separate plants for two different uses: one for potable water at the mine and surrounding communities, the other for industrial use in the mine and process plant. 

  • Geology, Mineralization & Exploration Potential

    The Bolivar Mine is located in the Cordillera de los Azanaques, forming the western edge of the Cordillera Oriental, which is detached from the Cordillera de los Frailes, belonging to the group of central mountain ranges. Characterized by the essence of undulating plateaus, outstanding mountains parallel to the course of the Andes, with elevations that vary between 3,400 and 4,600 msnm. The area is part of the polymetallic belt of the altiplano and the Cordillera Occidental.

    It is located in Cenozoic rocks of the middle to upper Silurian, constituted almost entirely by marine sediments of variable depth: from infraneritic, neuritic and bathyal environments.

    The Bolivar system is a network epigenetic hydrothermal base metal type veins and faults filled mineralization hosted within a variety of lithologies from volcanic tuffs to sedimentary packages. The main mineral assemblages are composed of sphalerite, marmatite, galena, silver-rich galena and silver sulfosalts. 

Photo Gallery