CdA Mines receives assurances from Bolivia

Officials at Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. said they’ve received assurances from the Bolivian government that the company’s open-pit silver mine in that country isn’t targeted for nationalization.

President Evo Morales, a socialist, recently discussed nationalizing the mining industry in Bolivia. Coeur d’Alene Mines operates the San Bartolome Mine in the Potosi mining district in the Andes Mountains. Last year, the mine produced nearly 7 million ounces of silver.

Humberto Rada, president of Coeur d’Alene Mines’ South American subsidiary, met Thursday with Bolivia’s mining minister, Jose Pimentel.

According to Rada, Pimentel assured him and members of Bolivia’s Federation of Mining Workers Trade Union that the company’s operations won’t be subject to nationalization.

Coeur officials said the labor unions active in the San Bartolome project have expressed their support for the company and denounced nationalization plans.

Silver was trading around $42 per ounce Friday.

Becky Kramer

Food, gas costs push consumer prices higher

WASHINGTON – Americans are paying more for food and gas, a trend that threatens to slow the economy at a crucial time.

So far, the spike in such necessities hasn’t stopped businesses from stepping up hiring or slowed factory production, which rose in March for the ninth straight month. Still, higher gas prices have led some economists to lower their forecasts for growth for the January-March quarter.

Consumer prices rose 0.5 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Nearly all of the gains came from pricier gas and food.

When taking out those two volatile categories, core inflation was relatively flat. But at the same time, employees are only seeing small, if any, pay increases. How big the economic impact will be is the critical question. Many analysts expect food prices will come down and oil prices will stabilize by summer. If companies continue to create jobs, consumer spending will rise faster. That would give the economy a boost by fall.

Associated Press

Factory output rises for ninth straight month

WASHINGTON – U.S. factories produced more consumer goods, business equipment and raw materials in March, boosting manufacturing activity for the ninth straight month.

Output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.8 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in February, the Federal Reserve said Friday. February’s results were dragged down by a weather-related drop in utility production.

Factory production, the largest single segment of industrial production, increased 0.7 percent last month. Manufacturing has been a key driver of economic growth since the recession ended. That continued last month, even with supply chain disruptions stemming from the crisis in Japan. Overall industrial production has risen about 12 percent since its recession-low in June 2009. It is still about 7 percent below its pre-recession peak, reached in September 2007.

Associated Press

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