MEXICO CITY, May 16 (Reuters) - Mexican miner Industrias Peñoles said on Saturday that it will suspend operations of a zinc mine in central Mexico indefinitely due to difficult mining conditions and low metal prices.
Peñoles said in a statement that it has begun laying off unionized workers in the unit, although it did not specify the number. It said it would try to reassign other workers and contractors to other units. The company said the suspension of operations will not affect its production of refined zinc.
Difficult mining conditions "together with the abrupt drop in the price of zinc and the high cost of operation make this mining unit no longer feasible for the company," Peñoles said in a statement sent to the Mexican stock exchange.
In its first-quarter results, Peñoles said that the prices of industrial metals had suffered "severe declines" compared to the same period last year. The price of zinc, for example, tumbled 21.3% on average.
Peñoles said its Francisco I. Madero mine, in Zacatecas state, began operations in 2001. In 2019, it ground and processed 2.3 million tons of ore and produced 41,541 tons of zinc and 8,905 tons of lead. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by David Gregorio)