Workers’ unions National Mining Company reacted with concern and uncertainty to the eventual advance of the temporary closure of the Hernán Videla Lira Foundrylocated in the town of Paipotein the commune of Copiapo (Atacama Region).
In statements published on Friday by The Mercuryhe executive vice president of the state company, Iván Mlynarzsaid that this Foundry is not «in a position to continue operating» and requires «a temporary cessation of its operation«to give rise to a stage of «radical modernization».
«The temporary cessation today has a deadline, which is January 2025and We are studying what is a reasonable advance (…) We are looking for that date (…) This is going to be a proposal that the administration is going to make, and that is going to have to be approved by the board of directors,» explained Mlynarz, pointing out that the plant will not receive maintenance in 2024, because it would be «such a high investment» that it would not be able to be recovered.
During the temporary cessation stage, «to the small producer (…) we are going to continue buying the mineral, we are going to continue treating it and we are going to market it. Unfortunately, for a period it will be without castingbut it allows us to continue operating and fulfilling our role without an impact on small miners,» the executive added.
«A BIG CONCERN»
Not counting indirect services, the Paipote Smelter currently employs 700 workersand Mlynarz’s announcement left them «on alert,» according to the president of Union No. 1, Eduardo de la Barrera.
«There is a lot of uncertainty between workers with the future of the Foundry. We were told in a session in Congress before the parliamentarians that The Foundry was closed when the other one began (to operate) and not before«De la Barrera said to The Mercury.
«It is true that there is a concern big from the people. There is uncertainty, because not even the authorities within the company have defined a time: It was said 2025 and now 2024and there is nothing concrete,» he told the newspaper Javier Rojas, president of Union No. 2.
Notwithstanding this, «We have been concerned for some time about the issue of possible paralysis of the Foundry because it does not meet environmental standards (…) We are working under very conditions,» said this leader.