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9 Jun 2023

Naimul Karim, Financial Post (USA)

Chile/Mexico: Lundin and Newmont forced to suspend operations at two mines over labour and environment issues

See all tags Allegations

"Miners Lundin, Newmont suffer setbacks over labour and environment issues", 9 June 2023

Two Canadian-listed miners, including the world’s largest gold producer, have suffered setbacks at their operations down south, as a Chilean court extended the closure of Lundin Mining Corp.’s copper mine due to a sinkhole while labour concerns forced Newmont Corp. to suspend activity at its gold mine in Mexico.

An environmental court in Chile on June 8 said operations at Lundin’s Alcaparrosa copper mine could remain suspended until a trial linked to a lawsuit filed against the company is completed. The move could “seriously jeopardize” the future of the mine, which has remained suspended since July 2022, Lundin’s Chilean subsidiary Minera Ojos del Salado said in a statement. It added that it would appeal the court’s decision.

Lundin suspended underground operations at Alcaparrosa after a 36.5-metre-wide sinkhole appeared near the mine, which is in Chile’s Atacama Region...

Chile’s State Defense Council (CDE), a government agency, in May blamed Lundin for the sinkhole, stating that the company was involved in overexploitation at the mining site...

“Our company regrets that, in the first place, the CDE has requested such a measure that seriously jeopardizes the future of the mine,” Lundin’s Minera Ojos del Salado said in a statement on June 8. “That the environmental court has adopted this decision based on information provided by the CDE that can be qualified as, notably, incomplete.”

Other Chilean bodies have also blamed Lundin for the sinkhole. The country’s environmental watchdog, SME, filed four charges against the Toronto-based miner last year...

Lundin, however, had said there were “multiple factors” back then that caused the sinkhole, “with mining activity being a relevant one.”...

Meanwhile, Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer, had to suspend operations at its Peñasquito mine in Mexico after its workers went on a strike. The workers’ union has demanded a doubling of an annual profit-sharing provision to 20 per cent, Newmont said in a press release.

“Newmont remains willing to participate in conciliation meetings to reach a resolution,” the company said in a statement.

Newmont added that it tried to resolve the dispute prior to the strike...