Trend: Mexico miners hit by strikes, blockades

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mexican mines have been impacted by a series of strikes and blockades in recent weeks, with incidents on the rise, according to one company.

Silver, gold, iron ore and coal mines in Durango and Coahuila states have been affected by strikes and unofficial stoppages by workers.

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However, operations are in the process of returning to normal at the bulk of the affected mines.


Workers downed tools at First Majestic Silver's La Encantada silver mine (pictured) in Coahuila state on May 22 in a dispute over profit-sharing bonuses.

Toronto-based First Majestic has reached a tentative agreement with workers to resolve the dispute, and plans to gradually restart operations over the coming weeks, it said on June 2.

Operations were blockaded by a rogue group of workers who rejected a deal between the company and the national mining-metallurgy union, SNTMMSSRM.

This type of work disruption is increasingly occurring in mining operations across Mexico, the company said.


As with the La Encantada stoppage, Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de México (Ahmsa) saw a number of its mining operations affected by stoppages by workers affiliated to the SNTMMSSRM union over profit-sharing bonuses.

Workers resumed duties at two coal mines and one processing plant in Coahuila state and the Hércules iron ore mine, after the company offered an additional 5,500-peso (US$295) loan to workers on top of the 4,500-peso profit-sharing bonus.

However, stoppages continued at the Cerro del Mercado iron ore operation in Durango state, which Ahmsa has since announced plans to close, citing a long-running conflict with the union.


Primero Mining's San Dimas gold-silver mine was also impacted by a two-month strike by SNTMMSSRM workers.

The strike followed a breakdown in negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Operations resumed in April after a new agreement was reached, which includes a 7.5% salary hike, in line with other recent rises in Mexico's mining sector.

A gradual restart of operations is planned over the coming months, with a focus on a reduced number of veins.

The revised CBA includes changes to the work rota, while the number of workers employed at the Durango state mine has been cut.


While strikes and blockades are seen by some as an increasing trend in Mexico's mining sector, the threat of further incidents in 2017 may be reduced following the resolution of profit-sharing bonus disputes.

Collective contract negotiations have also concluded, resulting in pay increases of 7-8%