Strike at Peru's top copper mine not hurting output: firm

Strike at Peru's top copper mine not hurting output: miner

Antamina mine.

The ongoing four-day work stoppage at Peru's largest copper and zinc mine, Antamina, has not hurt production and it is unlikely to have a significant affect on its 2014 total output, the company said this week (in Spanish).

However the organizer of about 1,700 unionized workers who downed tools Monday, Jorge Juarez, insists output would likely drop by at least 90%.

The union leader said the strike effects will be important as it is mostly affecting the copper concentrate plant and the Pacific port where concentrate is loaded onto ships, AP reported.

The mine, located in Peru’s central Ancash region, turned out about one-third of Peru’s copper production in 2013, according to government figures. But this year hasn’t been as good: output from Jan. to Sept. this year plummeted 16.2% compared to the same time period of 2013.

Antamina, which also produces a large amount of zinc, lead, and silver, is comprised of various stakeholders. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Glencore (LON:GLEN) each have 33.75% stakes in Antamina, which has a 370,000 tons per year production capacity. Teck Resources (NYSE:TCK) holds a 22.5% stake in the mine and Mitsubishi Corporation has10%.

This is the first strike in the company’s 13-year history.

Minerals represent 60% of Peru's export revenues, but lower production, falling prices and weaker demand from Asia have taken a heavy toll on earnings, dragging the nation's growth rates down from 5.8% last year to a forecast of 3.1% for 2014, based on figures from Peru’s central bank.