December 8, 2014 / 8:13 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Avocet Mining halts Inata mine operations due to strike

(Adds details, background)

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Gold miner Avocet Mining Plc said on Monday it had halted operations at its Inata gold mine in Burkina Faso due to a labour strike.

The miner, which is struggling due to lower gold prices, said the strike commenced late on Dec. 4, following talks with workforce representatives over labour cost reductions to keep Inata operational.

A sharp drop in bullion prices last year hit miners hard, putting stress on balance sheets and forcing many to cut costs and slash production targets. Gold has fallen a further 1.1 percent in 2014, after tumbling 28 percent last year.

Avocet in August cut its full-year production forecast as delayed delivery of key equipment to Inata added to the burden of hefty reserve downgrade and funding worries at the Inata mine.

The London-listed miner said it was continuing talks with representatives of the workforce and was being assisted by various ministries and departments in the Burkina Faso government.

Political uncertainty has been mounting in Burkina Faso since President Blaise Compaore resigned in October, leaving junior officers and top military brass competing for power.

Avocet owns 90 percent of the Inata mine and the government of Burkina Faso the rest. It also holds several exploration licences in Burkina Faso as well as the Tri-K development project in Guinea. (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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