UPDATE 1-Mexican union says ends strike at two Slim mines, one pending

Tue Jul 2, 2013 9:09pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, July 2 (Reuters) - Mexico's main mining union said on Tuesday it had negotiated an end to two strikes at mines belonging to Minera Frisco, the company owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, but that negotiations at a third Frisco mine were ongoing.

Workers at the San Francisco del Oro mine in Chihuahua state in northern Mexico had been on strike since May 15, while workers at the Minera Maria mine, in Sonora, northwest Mexico, had downed tools since the beginning of June.

The national mining union said in a statement it had negotiated a 13 percent wage increase for workers at both mines, including provisions to replace workers' salaries while they were on strike, and a "satisfactory" profit-sharing payment.

But the union said negotiations were still under way at the company's largest project, the El Coronel gold and silver mine in the northern state of Zacatecas, where work was suspended last month.

The union accused the company of provoking the conflict with what it called the "arbitrary" firing of 740 workers at El Coronel by a local manager. The company denied the allegation.

"We expect to have reached an acceptable solution soon, given the positive atmosphere in which the negotiations have taken place," the union said.

In a statement, Frisco confirmed operations had restarted at the two mines and that work at El Coronel was still frozen.

"Production remains suspended as a result of the illegal strike in effect since 29 May, 2013," Frisco said.

San Francisco del Oro produces gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper and has a capacity to process 4,000 tons of ore a day. The Minera Maria mine produces copper for copper cathodes.

El Coronel, which is undergoing a major expansion, produced 42,211 ounces of gold and 4,234 ounces of silver in the first quarter of 2013, according to Frisco's latest quarterly report.

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