(Adds comments from deputy mines minister, miners)
LIMA, March 22 Brazilian group Votorantim has
halted operations at its zinc smelter Cajamarquilla in Peru
after floods and mudslides disrupted transport and restricted
the availability of running water in the Andean country.
The company said in an email that the halt was a
precautionary measure and it was carrying out maintenance work
to restart operations as soon as weather conditions allow.
Deadly downpours in recent weeks have led to floods and
mudslides in the world's second-largest copper producer and
third-biggest zinc producer, damaging a railway used to send
concentrates to port.
Zinc, copper and lead miners Milpo and Volcan
have declared force majeure, citing the extreme
weather, and the country is bracing for another month of
flooding after a sudden warming of Pacific waters.
The Cajamarquilla smelter, which processed about 340,000
tonnes of zinc in 2016, stopped operating on Friday due to
damage in the area where it is located on the outskirts of Lima,
said Deputy Mines Minister Ricardo Labo.
Peruvian miner Buenaventura has been stockpiling
zinc concentrates at its polymetallic mine Brocal in the central
Andes instead of sending them to port while it waits for the
railway to be repaired, the company's chief financial officer
Carlos Galvez told Reuters.
Brocal can keep building up its concentrates for another 15
days without having to curb output, Galvez said.
Tin miner Minsur and Peruvian copper and zinc
miner Antamina, controlled by BHP Billiton and
Glencore, have said their operations have not been
(Reporting by Mitra Taj and Teresa Cespedes; Editing by James
Dalgleish and Richard Pullin)