Workers at key Peru copper mine start strike

LIMA, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Workers at Peru’s third-biggest copper mine, Cerro Verde, launched a two-day pay strike on Wednesday and threatened an indefinite walkout later this month, union leaders said.

The 1,100 workers started the strike after last-minute talks with the company broke down on Tuesday.

“The mine is officially at a standstill,” the union’s Secretary General William Camacho told Reuters.

Workers could also down tools indefinitely on Sept. 14 if their demands for higher salaries are not met, union leader Leoncio Amudio said on Tuesday.

Representatives from Cerro Verde were not immediately available to comment.

Cerro Verde produced 312,336 tonnes of copper in 2010. The mine is controlled by Freeport McMoran , and Buenaventura also has a stake.

Workers at mines throughout Latin America have gone on strike in recent months, demanding a greater share of mining profits in times of record high metal prices.

Shougang Hierro Peru , the country’s only iron producer, declared force majeure on its deliveries last week due to an ongoing strike.

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