Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mexican Miners Strike Could Affect International Metal Producers

Mexican Miners' Strike Set to Persist
By Adam Thomson
March 2, 2006

The National Mining and Metal Worker’s Union of Mexico, which represents about 270,000 of the country’s miners, vowed on March 2nd to continue its strike which has halted the operations of the largest mining companies and caused an increase in the international price of copper. The miners are protesting the replacement of former union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, following allegations of the mismanagement of funds, with Elias Morales, a replacement that the miners believe was arranged by the government.

The strike is adversely affecting mining companies across the country, including Grupo Mexico, the world’s third largest copper producer; Netherlands-based Mittal Steel, Mexico’s biggest steel producer; and Industrias Peñoles, the world’s largest silver producer. Industrias Peñoles reported that if the strike lasted more than a week the company would no longer be able to continue supplying its customers.

“It makes no sense,” said Luis Rey, Industrias Peñoles spokesperson. “It is hitting our operations very hard and yet it has nothing to do with us.” Mr Rey estimated that the strike was costing the company roughly $10m (€8.3m, £5.7m) a day.

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