* Protesters oppose Canadian firm's concession
* Morales says hasn't made a final decision
LA PAZ, July 8 Bolivia will consider
nationalizing Canadian miner South American Silver Corp's
silver property, President Evo Morales said on Sunday,
following violent indigenous protests against the mining
Leftist Morales, who last month took control of global
commodities giant Glencore's tin and zinc mine in the
Andean country, said he hadn't taken a final decision on whether
to revoke the Canadian miner's concession.
"Nationalization is our obligation, I already raised the
issue of nationalizing (the Malku Khota project) last year, and
I told (local residents) to reach an agreement, because when
they want we're going to nationalize," Morales told a farmers'
Exploration work, in which South American Silver plans to
invest some $50 million, is expected to end within three years.
The company describes it as "one of the world's largest
undeveloped silver, indium and gallium deposits."
A Bolivian man died and at least four others were hurt as
protesters occupied the property, local media reported on
Friday. An increase in social unrest and anti-government
protests are testing Morales, the country's first leader of
Mining is also coming under fire in neighboring Chile and
Peru, where many citizens feel they haven't profited from a
metals-led economic boom.
Bolivian peasant farmers over the weekend released five
local South American Silver workers, who had been held to demand
the company leave.
Three of the hostages were freed on Saturday in a police
operation and the other two were released on Sunday afternoon,
sources said. A police officer held hostage since Thursday was
"There are no more hostages in Malku Khota, the last
liberations happened due to negotiations," deputy interior
minister Jorge Perez told state television.
The Erbol radio network said the engineers freed on Sunday
were "accused of spying and violating traditions or customs of
the (local) peoples during an indigenous hearing." They were
ordered to complete "a community punishment" of making 1,000
adobe bricks in under 30 days, the network said.