Workers begin strike at three Buenaventura-owned mines

Workers at Peru’s largest publicly-traded precious metals company, Buenaventura, walked off the job at three of the company’s mines on Saturday.

The strike has stopped operations at the Uchucchacua silver mine, located about 164 miles from Lima in Oyón province, the Orcopampa gold mine in Peru’s southern Arequipa department, and the Antapite mine, a gold producer in the department of Huancavelica, daily Gestión reported.

According to a statement by Peru’s Labor Ministry, the worker unions at the three mines want Buenaventura to provide the company’s financial records from 2006 to 2009 and discuss the distribution of 2009 profits.

The ministry said the union’s work stoppage was illegitimate because the announcement of the strike lacked the formal legal requirements. It added that the union can appeal the decision. It said it had called on both sides to meet, but no agreement had been reached.

Buenaventura owns four other mines in Peru and has minority interests in other mining companies. It operates the Julcani silver mine and the Recuperada silver, lead and zinc mine located in Huancavelica, as well as the Shila-Paula gold and silver mine and the Ishihuinca gold mine, both located in Arequipa. The company also holds 43.65 percent stake of Yanacocha, Latin America’s largest gold mine operated by Colorado-based Newmont.

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