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By Marco Aquino and Mitra Taj
LIMA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Workers at Peru’s top copper mine, Antamina, affirmed their plan to go on strike indefinitely beginning on Monday after talks with management on Tuesday ended without an agreement, a union leader said.
No further negotiations with the company are planned to avert the strike, said Jorge Juarez, secretary general of the mine’s labor union, SUTRACOMASA.
Unionized workers said they will put down their tools to demand a bonus as proceeds from a profit-sharing agreement dwindle on falling copper production.
The strike threatens copper production at Antamina, which has been running at about 30,000 tonnes per month.
“We haven’t gone anywhere” with negotiations, Juarez said by telephone after the meeting with management. “The strike plan continues just as before.”
Antamina renewed its calls for dialogue with union leaders following the failed talks.
“Finding a path to understanding, beyond demands that cannot be met, is now in their hands,” Silvio Brigneti, Antamina’s vice president for human resources and safety, said in an emailed statement.
Antamina stressed that its profit-sharing plan with employees meets all legal requirements but has been affected by weaker production and global copper prices this year.
“The only thing the strike will achieve is a reduction in profits,” Brigneti added.
BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata each have 33.75 percent stakes in Antamina, with Teck Resources holding 22.5 percent and Mitsubishi Corp 10 percent.
Antamina makes up about 30 percent of overall copper production in Peru, where it is also the top zinc miner.
Its copper output has fallen this year on lower ore grades, a phase that management said will end in the medium term.
In the first nine months of 2014 the mine produced 16 percent less copper than in the same period in 2013.
The union’s planned protest would be the first indefinite strike in Antamina’s history.
In 2009, a scheduled strike at Antamina was avoided at the last minute when management offered workers a one-time bonus.
Last year Peru contributed 7 percent of the world’s copper production.
Reporting By Marco Aquino and Mitra Taj; Editing by Diane Craft and Lisa Von Ahn