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Strike at Cerro Verde?

The Cerro Verde mine is at risk of entering into a five-day strike beginning March 10th unless union demands for improve working conditions are met. The mine is majority-owned by Louisiana based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., (FMCG, NYSE: FCX).

César Fernández, the Adjunct Secretary of the workers union, was quoted in Gestion newspaper as saying that the mine has placed “extremely high parameters” for the payment of the profit sharing bonus with the workers, and he claims that the mine is paying comparably less in profit sharing than other mines in the vicinity. He warns that the strike could turn indefinite if the mine does not comply with union demands.

A strike at the mine would result in a loss of production of between 1,400 and 1,500 tons of copper a day. Cerro Verde is one of the largest copper producers in the country, and the strike would take place at a time when the price of copper is hovering above a healthy 2.65 USD / LB.