Thousands of Peruvian miners, belonging to more than 80 unions, were expected to walk off the job today in a nationwide strike.
Peru's largest miners union announced it would go on strike at midnight Monday, a move anticipated to impact copper, gold and silver mining operations.
The National Federation of Metallurgic and Steel Miners had negotiated with the Peruvian Government since last Thursday to try to reach an agreement. Some 80 unions--including workers at Newmont Mining's Yanacocha gold mine, Doe Run Resources' La Oroya smelter operations, Southern Peru Copper's Toquepala and Cuajone copper mines and union members from other mining operations-say they will join the strike.
The Peruvian Government has declared the strike illegal. Labor Minister Susana Pinilla called a news conference to ask the miners to refrain from any violence. Union leaders said their main objection focused on Peruvian President Alan Garcia's failure to fulfill campaign pledges to eliminate outsourcing among mining companies.
Energy and Mines Minister Juan Valdivia said Peru's 100,000 miners are seeking a greater share of mining company profits and better pensions. Peru is the world's largest silver producer and a major producer of copper and gold.
It is anticipated that the strike could generate an increase in metals prices this week.