Copper Strike Risks Are All But Over in World’s Biggest Producer
(Bloomberg) -- In quick succession, mining companies in Chile have resolved a series of labor conflicts to all but end threats to supply in the biggest copper-producing nation.
On Friday, plant workers at Codelco’s Andina mine agreed to end a more than three-week stoppage. The next day, workers at BHP Group’s Cerro Colorado mine accepted an offer hammered out by the two negotiating teams in mediated talks, avoiding a strike. Union members at Salvador, Codelco’s smallest mine, are scheduled to vote Monday on a new offer delivered during mediation.
The recent breakthroughs follow strike-ending agreements earlier this month with the two main unions at Andina and at a mine owned by JX Nippon Mining & Metals. The industry also managed to avoid stoppages at top-tier mines such as Escondida and El Teniente.
Chile is coming to the end of an intense period of contract renewals in which workers used high prices as leverage and companies fought to contain costs in a cyclical business that’s seen an uptick in input inflation.
The wage deals, in a country that accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s mined copper, remove a layer for support for prices of the metal that have recovered much of the ground lost in an early August selloff. Futures were down 0.3% at 1:03 p.m. in London on Monday.
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