Peru and Bolivia resume mining activity with strict health protocols

Peru and Bolivia have both authorised mining operators to resume activities as of May 2, in a relaxation of national lockdown measures implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Both Latin American countries shut down their mining operations in mid-March along with other key industrial sectors, but will now gradually resume mining activities with a first phase starting this month in Peru – the world’s second largest copper producer.

During the first phase, companies will have to comply with strict health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of infections, with health authorities conducting regular inspections of plants and mine sites to monitor compliance.

Likewise in Bolivia, miners wanting to get back to work must send a request to the ministry asking for permission and submit the biosafety protocols that they will put in place to avoid the spread of the virus.

Mining Minister Carlos Huallpa said that all sites must install disinfection chambers and have enough thermometers to check workers’ temperatures, and that it would become mandatory to set up mobile hospitals with triage units.

Bolivia is an important producer of zinc, gold and silver and resembles one third of ‘lithium triangle’ of South America. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that Bolivia has 9 million tonnes of identified lithium resources beneath its salt flats.