Doe Run Peru gives more than 2,500 smelter workers month-long paid leave because of lack of supplies

Doe Run Peru gave more than 2,500 workers – or approximately 75 percent of its workforce – a month-long paid leave because it has insufficient supplies to operate its La Oroya ploy-metallic smelter at full steam, daily El Comercio reported Wednesday.

“The company, according to article 2.3 of the collective agreement, has given workers a 30-day paid leave,” said Roberto Guzmán, the General Secretary of La Oroya’s Metallurgical Workers Union. “After that, we have no idea what will happen.”

In early April, weeks after Doe Run issued a statement confirming that its operations were only a hair shy of a complete halt, fifteen mining companies dependent on Doe Run Peru’s smelter extended the U.S.-owned mining company a $175 million credit line. The company had become unable to buy the concentrates it needed for its smelter when a consortium of banks led by PNP Paribas withdrew a $75 million revolving line of credit and froze Doe Run’s accounts in February, after metal prices plummeted.

The metallurgical complex of La Oroya is comprised of smelters and refineries to process copper, lead, zinc and silver, as well as several sub-products. It is one of the few complexes that processes so-called bulk concentrate. Approximately 30 mining companies operating in central Peru sell copper, zinc, gold and silver concentrates to the U.S.-owned smelter.

Only 25 percent Doe Run’s personnel will be actively employed for the next 30 days, for maintenance activities.

Peru is the world’s largest producer of silver, the third largest of copper, zinc and tin, and fifth largest producer of gold. Approximately 60 percent of the country’s export revenue is generated by mining.

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