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Police seize mine in northern Mexico, breaking three-year strike

June 7, 2010 |  6:09 pm

Mexican federal police have taken control of a major copper mine in northern Mexico that had been occupied by striking workers for nearly three years, Reuters reports. The surprise operation began Sunday night and ended without any major injuries, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Hundreds of officers backed by helicopters secured the Cananea mine in Sonora state, which is owned by Grupo Mexico. The company has lost an estimated $1.5 billion because of the strike. Workers have held on to the copper mine since July 2007. The United Steelworkers in the U.S. released a statement Monday condemning the Cananea operation.

Workers originally called the strike after 65 miners were killed in an underground explosion at another mine owned by the company.

Reuters adds, "Cananea, near the U.S.-Mexico border, is a potent symbol of the country's labor movement where a clash helped spark the Mexican Revolution in 1910."

Cananea is known to this day as the "birthplace" of the revolution.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City