Bolivar Mine

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Silver
Mining Method
  • Avoca
  • Shrinkage stoping
  • Longhole stoping
Backfill type ... Lock
Production Start... Lock
SnapshotThe Bolivar Mine has been active for more than 200 years and currently produces a nominal 800 tonnes per day. The current mine complex consists of an underground mine, 1,100 t/d concentrator plant, tailings storage facility, maintenance workshop, shaft-winder, water treatment plants, supplies warehouse, main office, hospital, and camp.


Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. (operator) 45 % Indirect
Corporación Minera de Bolivia (COMIBOL) 55 % Indirect
On March 18, 2022, the Santacruz Silver Mining acquired 100% ownership of Sinchi Wayra and Illapa from Glencore plc. Sinchi Wayra and Illapa consist of the following mineral properties and businesses located in Bolivia: the producing Tres Amigos, Reserva, and Colquechaquita mines, collectively the “Caballo Blanco Group”; the producing Bolivar and Porco mines held in partnership with COMIBOL; the Soracaya Project; as well as the San Lucas ore sourcing and trading business.

Sociedad Minera Illapa S.A. is the operator of the Illapa Joint Operation.



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Deposit type

  • Vein / narrow vein
  • Epithermal


Deposit Type
The most important ore deposits of the Eastern Cordillera are polymetallic hydrothermal deposits mined principally for Sn, W, Ag and Zn, with sub-product Pb, Cu, Bi, Au and Sb. They are related to stocks, domes and volcanic rocks of Middle and Late Miocene age (22 to 4 Ma). Mineralization occurs in veins, fracture swarms, disseminations and breccias. The deposits of the Eastern Cordillera are epithermal vein and disseminated systems of Au, Ag, Pb, Sb, as that have been telescoped on to higher temperature mesothermal Sn-W veins and, in some cases, porphyry Sn deposits. The telescoping is a characteristic of these deposits and is the result of collapse of the hydrothermal systems, with lower temperature fluids overprinting higher temperature mineralization. The systems show a fluid evolution from a high temperature, low sulfidation state to intermediate sulfidation epithermal and high sulfidation epithermal.

A typical example is the Cerro Rico where high temperature veins at depth, with a low sulfidation assemblage of cassiterite, wolframite, pyrite, arsenopyrite, bismuthinite and minor pyrrhotite (the main tin-tungsten ore stage), are overprinted at higher levels by an intermediate sulfidation epithermal assemblage of Ag-Pb-Sb sulfosalts (the main silver ore stage), with disseminated high sulfidation epithermal silver mineralization in the upper part of the system (a major silver resource).

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. The resources are usually based on multiple structures containing several veins. The typical dimensions of these structures ~500 m in length and ~450 m depth profile with mineralization continuing to be open at depth with vein widths of between 0.2 m - 4.0 m.

The occurrence of a mineral deposit is related to two primordial aspects: 1) a hot intrusive body generating mineralizing fluids and 2) a pre-mineral geological structure receiving mineralization.

The non-presence of an intrusive body very close to the deposit, makes one conclude that its formation is due to the influence of the Chualla Grande Stock, with minerals of higher temperature in its vicinity such as: 1) coarse cassiterite accompanied by quartz and tourmaline (Totoral and Avicaya); 2) an intermediate or transitional zone with minerals of Fe-Sn (Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Venus) and; 3) an external zone where Bolívar is located with minerals of Zn-Pb-AgSn.

The Pomabamba mineralization corridor has a simplified mineral paragenesis of sphalerite – pyrite – sulfosalt type of Ag-Pb-Sn that differs from the Rosario mineralization corridor whose paragenesis is sphalerite – galena – pyrite – siderite. This allows one to conclude that there is a lateral zone in the mineralization that corresponds to the central part of the deposit (Pomabamba corridor).

The Pomabamba vein has its own characteristics longitudinally, with a predominance of marmatite-pyrite mineralization in its northern sector and abundant pyrite in the south. Vertically and at depth the pyrite becomes more dominant and the marmatite subordinate. A remarkable aspect is that pyrite is associated or is intergrown with Ag minerals mainly to the south. Another aspect to note is that, at higher levels, there is a band of brown sphalerite that can be distinguished within the marmatite-pyrite association, whose longitudinal inlay had no preferential location.

The mineralogical characteristics of the Nané vein differs from that of Pomabamba, with predominant brown sphalerite, and galena sulfosalts in smaller proportions and generally as much sphalerite and pyrite with subordinate marmatite at depth.

The Bolivar vein, which is an extension in the north direction of the Nané, presents as sphalerite (brown), sulfosalts of Pb-Sb-Ag-Sn, marmatite and pyrite, which is enriched in Ag content as a result, characteristic of its south and center sector. However, in the north, the pyrite becomes predominant and the sphalerite-sulfosalts subordinate.

The polymetallic mineralization in the Bolivar deposit according to the mineragraphic studies concludes that it would have formed in different phases or mineralization events with a clear telescopic deposition:
• An early phase would comprise the mineral association of quartz – pyrite – sphalerite (of the marmatite type);
• Sphalerite (brown) – jamesonite – boulangerite – cassicrite (of the needle tin type) – stannine – galena – franckeite would correspond to the intermediate phase of mineralization; and
• Finally, the second generation carbonates (siderite) and quartz correspond to the late phase

The composition and events of the mineralization illustrate that the deposit was formed from hydrothermal solutions under intermediate temperature conditions of 250º - 300ºC, and that it classifies as a meso- to epithermal hydrothermal deposit.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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The mill receives feed from two sources; the Company mining operation which contributes about 80% and toll feed purchased through the San Lucas business which contributes the other 20%.
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All production numbers are expressed as metal in concentrate.

Operational metrics

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Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.


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Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

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....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required ........... Subscription required Aug 10, 2023
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Aerial view:


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