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Industryweek 9159 Chilean Copper Mine

Chile Copper Mine Strike Cost: $27 Million a Day

July 22, 2015
Chile's state mining company, Codelco, said operations during the strike have remained normal at all but one mine.

SANTIAGO, Chile—Chile's state mining company, Codelco, said it was mostly operating normally Wednesday, during a strike by contract workers seeking to disrupt access to some of the country's largest copper mines.

However, Codelco also said the strike, launched by the Confederation of Copper Workers on Tuesday, was costing it $27 million a day.

Striking workers on Tuesday cut roads and blocked entryways at five of the company's mining divisions.

Codelco said operations were normal on Wednesday at all its mines but Division Salvador, the least productive of its operating divisions.

The strikers work for Codelco contractors and subcontractors, and are pressing for pay and other benefits enjoyed by workers directly employed by the state mining company.

Codelco, which accounts for about 11% of the world production of copper, has rejected those demands.

"An increase in those benefits and their associated costs is not compatible with the current conditions of the copper market," said Codelco CEO Nelson Pizarro.

Copper prices have tumbled from peaks reached at the height of a commodity boom, and the company has announced plans to cut spending by $1 billion in 2015.

Chile produces some 5.8 million tons of copper a year, about one third of the world's production.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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