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Pensions spark ‘indefinite’ strike at Bolivia’s Huanuni

Keywords: Tags  tin, Comibol, Huanuni, Bolivia, Mario Virreira, metallurgy minister, Justo Calle, FSTMB RGB Resources

SÃO PAULO — Workers at Bolivia’s Empresa Minera Huanuni (EMH), controlled by state-owned Corporación Minera de Bolivia (Comibol), began an "indefinite" strike May 6 over pension conditions, AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin has been told.

Miners are demanding pensions of 8,000 bolivianos ($1,115), while the local government recently produced an offer of 4,000 bolivianos ($557).

They are supported by Bolivia’s main workers organization, Central Obrera Boliviana, whose delegates also blocked some of the country’s main roads and disrupted the operation of some health centers, according to local newspaper La Razón.

Bolivian mining and metallurgy minister Mario Virreira warned during a local press conference that the tin miner could register a loss.

"What concerns us is that this measure (the strike) puts at risk the functioning of the mining company. A day of stoppage means losses of $500,000," the minister said in a statement.

"We are waiting for the government to formalize dialogue with the workers, which has not yet happened," Justo Calle, secretary for conflict at Bolivian mining workers federation FSTMB, said.

Huanuni was nationalized in 2006 after former owner RGB Resources Plc collapsed amid fraud accusations that eventually led to the arrest of two former senior executives.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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