MEXICO CITY, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Mexican copper production fell nearly 20 percent in October from the same month last year, the biggest monthly drop in 2010, the national statistics agency said Friday.
Two Mexico-based mining analysts said companies might be exploiting lower grade deposits, which would account for the fall in output.
A three-year-long strike shuttered Mexico's largest copper mine, Cananea. The pit's owner, Grupo Mexico, regained control of the installations this year and has said operations are slowly resuming. Grupo Mexico's (GMEXICOB.MX) smelter at its second most important copper mine La Caridad was hit by another labor dispute in September but the company said only refining operations, not mine output were affected. The smelter was back online by the end of October. [ID:nN25526477]
Silver production increased slightly in October to 279,426 kg in October, up 1.7 percent compared with a year earlier, the institute said.
A breakdown of metals production follows:
Product 2010 Pct Chge
vs yr ago
Gold 5,254 kgs +7.2
Silver 279,426 kgs +1.7
Lead 11,026 tonnes +33.1
Copper 15,474 tonnes -19.7
Zinc 31,703 tonnes -4.2