Talks between BHP and union at Escondida Mine extended

August 10, 2021

In a late effort to stave off a strike, BHP Group Ltd and the workers union at its Escondida copper mine in Chile agreed on Aug. 9 to extend government-mediated contract talks by a day.

Reuters reported that the long-running negotiation between the company and the powerful 2,300-member union has global copper markets on edge as demand increases and supply remains tight amid a nascent global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copper prices soared to record highs earlier this year, giving unions representing workers in the copper sector additional leverage in negotiations.
BHP said in a statement the two parties would continue talks well into the night ahead of an eventual vote by the union.

At Escondida, the world's largest mine, memories remain fresh of an historic 44-day stoppage in 2017 that jolted global copper markets and slowed Chile's economic growth.

Chile is the world's top copper producer.


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