Peru miners start nationwide strike, government sees little impact – by Teresa Cespedes and Marco Aquino (Reuters U.S. – July 19, 2017)

LIMA (Reuters) – Unionized workers at mines in Peru, the world’s second biggest copper producer, started a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest the government’s proposed labor reforms, the head of a federation of mining unions said on Wednesday.

Workers at 56 mining unions in the Andean country, including the top copper mines, are striking, said Ricardo Juarez, head of the National Federation of Mining, Metallurgical and Steel Workers of Peru (FNTMMSP).

Juarez told Reuters the stoppage has likely curbed copper production at some of the country’s largest mines, including BHP Billiton Plc’s and Glencore Plc’s Antamina, Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s Cerro Verde and Southern Copper Corp’s Cuajone and Toquepala deposits.

However, a spokesman for Peru’s main mining association, the National Society of Mining, Oil and Energy, said the vast majority of workers at medium and large mining companies went to work and output would not likely be significantly affected.

Southern Copper, owned by Grupo Mexico, said its divisions were operating at 100 percent despite the strike. “The effect on mining production so far today is relatively limited,” Energy and Mines Minister Gonzalo Tamayo said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning. “The companies have contingency teams, they have some scenarios predicted.”

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