January 9, 2015 / 8:35 PM / 6 years ago

REFILE-Mexican Penoles' mine may not produce for up to 6 months-union

(Refiles to fix garbled name in paragraph 6)

By Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein

MEXICO CITY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Mexican miner Penoles’ flooded Naica lead, silver and zinc deposit might not be operational for up to six months, a union mine official said on Friday, although the company had no estimate on when production would resume.

The mine in the northern state of Chihuahua was flooded on Jan. 1 and the company announced the suspension of operations at Mexico’s second-richest lead mine on Jan. 5.

Enrique de la Rosa, a Naica union leader, said that Penoles engineers provided the five-to-six month estimate in daily meetings about the clean-up, which he attends. The engineers based their assessment on how much water was in the mine, and how long it would take to pump it out, he said.

In response, Penoles spokesman Leopoldo Lopez said the company was still evaluating how long the mine would be down, and had no details on what the financial impact would be.

Intercam, a Mexican brokerage firm, estimates that for every 15 days the mine is not producing, Penoles will lose around 178 million pesos ($11.96 million), or about 7 percent of sales.

The Cueva de los Cristales, a magnificent crystal cave in Naica, is not affected, both Lopez and de la Rosa said.

Penoles shares were up 0.52 percent in afternoon trading at 292.90 Mexican pesos ($20).

The company has said that, in the first nine months of 2014, the mine produced 14,862 tonnes of lead, 10,987 tonnes of zinc and 1.3 million ounces of silver contained in lead and zinc concentrates. ($1 = 14.5960 pesos) (Reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Simon Gardner and Andre Grenon)

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