Hundreds of striking miners at Mexico’s Cananea copper mine said they will destroy the site if the government tries to dislodge them.

The union representing the striking miners, who seized Mexico’s Cananea copper mine three years back, said explosives have been set to destroy the facility if they are evicted from the site.

The threat comes after Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld an earlier court ruling allowing mine owner Grupo Mexico to terminate the contracts of the strikers and hire new workers.

The miners first walked off the job at the Cananea copper mine three years ago over concerns about health and safety standards in a protracted labour dispute that has been going on for some years.

Cananea, Mexico’s largest copper pit, has the capacity to produce nearly 190,000t of copper annually, according to Reuters.

The three-year strike at the mine has cost the company more than $3.2bn in losses.