Belgium-based mining company Nyrstar has suspended operations at its Middle Tennessee Mines (MTN) in the US in a bid to cut cash spending due to weak zinc prices.
The company's decision to put the mine on care and maintenance is expected to result in about 50,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate a year being taken out of the market.
Nyrstar will also reduce zinc metal production at the nearby Nyrstar Clarksville smelter by about 7%, which is equivalent to about 9,000 tonnes per year.
The smelter will continue to be supplied by East Tennessee Mines (ETM) which comprises three mines and one processing plant, and elsewhere.
Nyrstar CEO Bill Scotting said: "The decision to put our Middle Tennessee Mining operations on care and maintenance was not taken lightly.
"We continue to take decisive action to reduce spending in our mines, and further mine operation suspensions may be necessary if the depressed metals price environment continues.
The company hopes to complete the process to divest the majority or all of its mines by 2016.
Nyrstar's MTN operations consist of three underground zinc mines including Gordonsville, Elmwood and Cumberland and a processing plant, all located in Smith County, Tennessee.
The ETN complex comprises of a mill and three underground zinc mines; Young, Coy and Immel located in and around Knox, Jefferson and Grainger counties.
Image: Nyrstar will place the Middle Tennessee Mines on care and maintenance. Photo: courtesy of Nyrstar