Union calls for strike at BHP’s copper mines in Chile

May 26, 2021

The union that represents 205 workers at BHP Group’s Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile has rejected the company´s contract offer and called on the workers to begin a strike.

The union it told Reuters, and called on members to walk off the job from Thursday, May 27.

The 205 workers run the global resources company’s Integrated Operations Center, which manages pits and cathode and concentrator plants in the north of Chile from Santiago, the capital.

The impact of such a strike on BHP´s operations in Chile was not immediately clear, as the negotiation between the remote operations union and the company is the first of its kind.

The union secretary, Roberto Robles, said workers would return to the negotiating table only to notify the company of their decision to walk off the job.

The strike call comes as copper prices hover near record highs. Escondida is the world's largest copper mine.

Contract talks have run since the end of March, while government-mediated talks have lasted five days and can be extended for five more, if both parties agree.

BHP told Reuters it would seek to exhaust all dialogue opportunities.

Escondida produced 1.19 Mt in 2020, while Spence produced 146,700 tonnes of Chile’s total 5.7 million tonnes.



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