Losses from major tin mine in Peru exceed $100 mln as unrest continues

By Marco Aquino

LIMA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Lost sales from a closed tin mine in Peru operated by state-run Minsur MINSURI1.LM reach $118 million, a company executive said on Tuesday, as two months of anti-government protests in the country have prevented a restart to operations.

Minsur's San Rafael de Puno tin mine normally produces about 9% of global tin, according to company data, but it closed operations in January after protests erupted following the December ouster and jailing of former President Pedro Castillo.

The mine is located near many of the most intense protests that have engulfed the country's Andean south since the removal of Castillo, who had attempted to illegally dissolve Congress and rule by decree.

"We continue talking with the leaders of the area," said Gonzalo Quijandria, Minsur's head of corporate affairs, stressing that 4,500 jobs were at risk.

"We need to get back to work," he said, adding that the mine could resume operations in days if conditions allowed it.

The mine first closed temporarily in what it described at the time as a gesture of solidarity with victims of an especially deadly protest, but later announced it was forced to shutter indefinitely due to security concerns.

While some local communities voiced support for resuming operations at a meeting on Monday, more radical community leaders further away continue to block key roads used to transport supplies and output, according to a Minsur spokesperson.

Peru is the world's second-biggest copper producer, and the tin it supplies is used to coat a variety of metals to prevent corrosion as well as in alloys.

Other major mines in Peru that have been hit hard by the unrest include Las Bambas run by China's MMG Ltd 1208.HK and Antapaccay run by Glencore GLEN.L.

While the protest against caretaker President Dina Boluarte continue, claiming 49 lives so far, the number of road blockades have fallen in recent weeks to about 15, all in the Puno region near the mine, as of Tuesday, according to official data.

Last month, more than 100 reported blockades had been erected by protesters.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Himani Sarkar)

((david.aliregarcia@thomsonreuters.com; +52 55 5282 7151; Reuters Messaging: david.aliregarcia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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