SHANGHAI, Jan 5 (SMM) - Nexa Resources has reportedly suspended the production at its Atacocha San Gerardo open pit zinc mine in Peru due to the road blockade imposed by the local Machcan community since December 27. It is said that there has been no material impact on Atacocha's production to date.
The company pointed out that Atacocha produces approximately 200,000 mt of zinc, accounting for less than 3% of Nexa's zinc production.
The company also added that the activities were limited to critical operations with a minimum workforce to ensure proper maintenance, and that at the same time it was pursuing an active dialogue with the community and authorities for a peaceful resolution of this situation
Nexa's Atacocha mine faced two road closures last year. One was in March, when the company lost 300 mt in zinc production, and the other occurred in August.
Peru is the world's second largest copper producer behind Chili, and it is also a major contributor to zinc production. Mining conflicts have risen in Peru over the past two years. In early 2022, a wave of protests hit the operation of major mines in Peru, including Glencore's Antapaccay mine, the country's sixth-largest copper mine.
In 2022, the overseas zinc output showed a negative growth trend due to multiple problems such as zinc mine closures, labour shortages, extreme weather, and grade decline. In particular, the underperformance of mines in Peru and Australia were in good part behind the zinc output decrease. SMM estimates that the overseas zinc output in 2022 will fall by 2.49% year-on-year, yet the downward trend will reverse in 2023, when the output is expected to increase by 2.8% on the year.