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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 17:21 GMT
Bolivian troops seize key smelter
Bolivian workers try to stop riot police and soldiers bursting into metal foundry.
Troops occupied the complex just before the president arrived
The Bolivian government has seized control of the country's largest, privately-run tin smelter complex.

Signing a decree nationalising the Vinto complex, President Evo Morales said there were no immediate plans to pay compensation to the site's owners.

More than 200 Bolivian soldiers were sent to occupy the complex, run by Swiss company Glencore.

Bolivia's leftist president last year moved to nationalise the country's energy industry.

The seizure of the Vinto complex comes a day after more than 20,000 miners called off demonstrations over planned tax increases, which had seen protestors clash with police in the administrative capital, La Paz.

'Financial control'

Mr Morales, a close ally of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, has been pressing for the country's key mining industry to come under state control.

"The Vinto Metallurgical Complex returns to the control of the Bolivian state with all its current shares, allowing the [state] Vinto Metallurgical Company to assume immediate administrative, technical, legal and financial control," the decree signed by Mr Morales said.

The Venezuelan government earlier announced it had taken over the country's leading privately-owned power provider, marking the latest phase in Venezuela's nationalisation programme.

The state is to pay $740m for the 82% stake in Electricidad de Caracas, owned by US company AES Corp.




SEE ALSO
Bolivia miners call off protest
08 Feb 07 |  Americas
Clashes as Bolivia miners protest
07 Feb 07 |  Americas
Bolivia route blockaded over oil
29 Jan 07 |  Americas
Head of Bolivia gas firm resigns
27 Jan 07 |  Americas
Q&A: Bolivia's gas takeover
03 May 06 |  Business

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