LA PAZ, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia on Thursday unveiled a series of stricter regulations of mining cooperatives, following the recent death of an official at the hands of protesting miners.
Deputy Minister of Mining Rodolfo Illanes was tortured to death last Thursday while attempting to mediate a protest by Bolivia's National Federation of Mining Cooperatives (Fencomin) in demand of more rights to work with private companies.
Several decrees were agreed during an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mining Minister Cesar Navarro told reporters at a press conference.
The decrees called for the state to take back control of areas and concessions subleased to private companies, and according to the government, there are 31 such contracts, the Bolivian News Agency (ABI) reported.
"The cabinet has issued the first decree, which explicitly reverts to state control areas with ... leasing and subleasing contracts between the mining cooperatives and private national or international companies," said Navarro.
The state will also take control of sites that are not producing, he said.
"That capacity is going to allow us to verify hundreds of areas dispersed in several of the country's departments, and these areas have to be duly exploited and there has to be mining activity, but if there isn't ... they will revert to Bolivian state (control)," said the minister.
A third decree calls for regular auditing of the mining cooperatives, which will have to report annually on how many members they have, and the volume and value of their output.
The goal, said Navarro, is to identify the legitimate cooperatives from those that are merely "companies (that) exploit men."
In addition, the government announced labor protections for salaried miners, and banned the possession of dynamite and other explosives during strikes or protests.
The miners had launched violent protests to get the government to meet some 10 demands, including having more leeway to sign contracts with private mining firms as Bolivia's energy sector is nationalized.
The miners had also laid a trap with explosives in case police arrived at the site.
Some 100,000 miners are affiliated with the Fencomin.