Peru
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Antamina operating at 'normal pace' despite eight-day strike

Bnamericas Published: Monday, November 17, 2014

Peru's Minera Antamina, which runs one of the world's largest copper-zinc mines, said operations are "maintaining their normal pace" despite a strike that entered its eighth day on Monday.

A ship carrying 45,000t of copper concentrates left the port of Punta Lobitos on November 16 bound for Asia, the company said in a statement. Antamina said it had put in place a contingency plan after workers walked off the job November 10 to pressure for a bigger slice of profits and better labor conditions.

The company called on the Sutracomasa workers' union to take part in government-brokered wage talks Monday, the first between the two sides since the end of October. The labor ministry declared the strike illegal, according to Antamina.

"We call upon the leaders of Sutracomasa to become part of the proposed dialogue in which the ministry of labor is a participant," the company said in the statement. "Seeking a solution through measures involving pressure tactics is not the path that the authorities are proposing."

A truck driver was injured and sent home after an incident while the truck was loading with ore, the company said, adding it was the first incident since November 10. Accidents have become more frequent as less experienced operators have been pressed into service, according to union leader Jorge Juárez.

The company, which employs over 2,600 workers at the mine, in northern Peru, signed a three-year wage agreement with its workers in July 2012. Antamina's copper production fell 16.2% to 273,411t through the third quarter because of declining ore grades.

Antamina completed a US$1.3bn expansion at the end of 2012 which increased ore processing capacity to 130,000t/d from 94,000t/d after exploration work boosted mineral reserves by 77%.

The mine produced 461,058t copper, 315,802t zinc, 4,032t lead, 4,544t molybdenum and 520,871kg silver last year, according to Peru's energy and mines ministry (MEM).

Glencore and BHP Billiton each own a 33.75% stake in Antamina, while Canada's Teck Resources has 22.5% and Japan's Mitsubishi10%.

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