January 6, 2010 / 6:32 PM / 10 years ago

Doe Run Peru's smelter unlikely to restart in Jan.

LIMA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Doe Run Peru said on Wednesday operations at its smelter, stopped since June because of financial and environmental troubles, would likely not restart this month as was predicted by the company late last year.

Doe Run Peru, a unit of U.S.-based Renco Group, had said in September that work at its La Oroya smelter would likely resume within “a few weeks.” It later pushed the date to January.

The company has delayed the scheduled restart several times as Doe Run has struggled to reach an agreement with its suppliers and potential creditors.

Nearly 20,000 jobs are at stake at La Oroya, one of the most polluted towns in the world.

“It’s unlikely (operations) could restart this month,” Jose Mogrovejo, the company’s vice president of environmental affairs, told Reuters.

“Up to now, we’re continuing talks with our potential strategic associates,” he said, adding that any agreement would need to be reviewed by the government.

“There have been advances, but unfortunately the negotiations have not ended. Once they’re complete, we expect to have an estimate (for a restart),” said Mogrovejo.

The Peruvian Congress voted last year to give Doe Run Peru a 30-month extension on its environmental cleanup program.

The company, which halted work after banks cut its credit, had said it could regain access to loans and restart production at the world’s most diversified smelter if the deadline were extended.

Doe Run Peru says it has spent $307 million scrubbing the smelter and may need to spend $150 million more to complete the cleanup. It owes some $110 million to its suppliers. (Reporting by Dana Ford; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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