Peruvian miners plan to vote today on whether to end a four-day national mining strike, a union official said.
Workers may end the stoppage at a dozen mining companies today if Congress begins debating legislation to improve pensions, profit-sharing and rights for subcontracted mineworkers, Mining Federation spokesman Cirilo Yarihuaman said. The vote will be held at 5 p.m. New York time, he said.
``We'll evaluate whether to end the strike or not,'' Yarihuaman said. ``It all depends on progress made by Congress and the government on reforms.''
Strikes this year, including a five-day national walkout by Peruvian miners in May, have cut copper output in Peru, Chile and Mexico, helping to spur an 11 percent rally in the price of the metal. Peru is the world's third-largest producer of copper, zinc and tin, the biggest of silver and fifth-largest of gold.
The strike, which began Nov. 5, involves about 5 percent of Peru's miners and hasn't cut metals output, said Ysaac Cruz, president of Peru's National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Energy. ``Operations are practically normal at most mines,'' Cruz said in a telephone interview. ``Those mines that have seen some impact will accelerate production through the end of the year.''
The stoppage in Peru has affected mines owned by companies including Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO:US), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX:US), Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM:US) and Doe Run Resources Corp. Production at Freeport's Cerro Verde copper mine may be affected if the strike continues, spokesman Peter Faur said in an e-mail.
Workers also are on strike at mines run by Cia. De Minas Buenaventura SA, tin miner Minsur SA (MINSURI1), Shougang Hierroperu's iron mine and zinc producers Cia. Minera Raura SA and Cia. Minera Santa Luisa, according to the Mining Federation.
The federation, which represents 70 unions and 28,000 miners, wants miners to get a 10 percent share of profits, up from the current 8 percent; eight-hour shifts instead of the 12 hours imposed at many mines; and have 85,000 subcontracted workers put on company payrolls.
Copper futures for December delivery fell 5.5 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $3.204 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Zinc rose $20 to $2,780 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Tin fell $225 to $16,725 a ton.
Silver for December delivery rose 19 cents to $15.515 an ounce on the Comex. Gold for December delivery rose $4 to $837.50 an ounce.
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