A union strike is currently underway at Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine run by the Chinese company MMG Ltd. (HKG: 1208). The workers want improved profit sharing and transport conditions.
On Tuesday, the union’s Secretary General Erick Ramos said that the strike would conclude at 5:30 a.m Thursday. About half of the 2,000 workers employed at the operation are part of the Las Bambas workers union, according to Ramos.
“The labor authority declared the strike improper and, in order to avoid reprisals against the workers, it was decided to shorten the duration of the protest,” Ramos told Reuters. Earlier in the day Tuesday he had declared the strike for an indefinite period.
Ramos said he was informed by MMG that profit from the mine would be cut in half this year, thereby leaving the workers with reduced benefits under the profit-sharing scheme.
“The company does not want to consider our demands, and the relationship between the company and the union has broken down,” he added.
One of the world’s largest copper mines
Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines says that copper production from Las Bambas increased by almost 22 per cent year-over-year in 2023. The operation generated over 221,000 metric tons between January and September.
Commercial production started at the mine in 2016. It is expected to have a lifespan exceeding 18 years. Gold, silver and molybdenum are byproducts.
The operation has generated animosity from local Indigenous groups in recent years who want more benefits from it. It produces about 250,000 tonnes of copper concentrate annually.
The Cerro Verde copper mine run by Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE: FCX) is the country’s largest and Las Bambas is the second-biggest.
Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of copper, dwarfed only by Chile. Las Bambas is considered to be one of the world’s largest copper mines too.