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Imminent strikes to hit world’s largest copper producers

by Cecilia Jamasmie | August 29, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

Several labour conflicts, including the threat of strikes, are currently looming over the operations of Chile’s state-owned copper giant, Codelco’s Salvador division, as well as those of global miner BHP Billiton NYE:BHP in the South American country.

Yesterday Codelco’s main unions rejected the company’s bonus offer and voted in favour of a stoppage beginning September 1, reports La Segunda (in Spanish). This is the first payroll workers-led strike to hit Salvador in the last 25 years.

The division’s 2012 output accounted for 3.6% of Codelco’s total for the year, or 63,000 tonnes of copper.

Meanwhile workers at BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, are expected to vote on a new proposal regarding their bonus, as well as on a new way of calculating the bonus, Reuters quoted union leader Roberto Arriagada as saying.

Last week the miners’ representatives rejected a first proposal and warned of a new strike similar to the 24-hour stoppage staged August 14, which affected all of BHP’s operations in Chile.

Escondida is located 3,100 metres above sea level in northern Chile, close to the city of Antofagasta. In 2012 its output reached almost 1.076 million tonnes of copper, 31.3% more than in 2011.

BHP owns the majority with a 57.5% stake. Rio Tinto NYE:RIO (30%), JECO Corp (10%) and JECO 2 Ltd (2.5%) also hold shares in the copper mine.

Reprinted by permission of

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