Global miner Anglo American said on Wednesday it was suspending all operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in central Chile after protesters seized installations at the mine earlier in the day.
The company said in a statement that it was implementing an evacuation plan for the 1,500 workers at Los Bronces.
It said that it had made the decision because “the conditions were not present to guarantee the safety of the workers or operate under the necessary standards.”
Earlier on Wednesday, about 100 hooded protesters illegally entered the mine, seizing installations and setting up flaming barricades.
Anglo American told Reuters at that time that it was still evaluating whether there would be any impact on production at Los Bronces, its flagship copper mine in Chile.
“This situation is a serious threat to the security and physical safety of more than 1,500 people who are currently at Los Bronces and presents environmental risks if normal operational processes and controls are not restored,” Anglo American said in its earlier statement.
The company pointed out that events at the mine came as the Federation of Contract Workers union negotiates with service-provider firms that operate at the mine but said it could not confirm the identity of the hooded protesters.
Several attempts to reach the Federation of Contract Workers at Los Bronces were unsuccessful.
“Anglo American reiterates its demand for the Federation of Contract Workers at Los Bronces and the service-provider firms to continue their dialogue … and to immediately suspend the acts of violence that are affecting the operations and people,” the company said in its statement late on Wednesday.
It said the prosecutor’s office and police had begun investigations and would take appropriate actions.