BHP and union to begin talks to avert strike at Chilean copper mine

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Mining giant BHP and the union representing workers at its Spence copper mine in Chile will kick off on Wednesday government-mediated talks aimed at averting a strike, both parties said.

BHP activated a mandatory five-day period of government mediation, typical of such labor talks in Chile, after union members massively rejected a new contract offer from the company earlier this week, paving the way for a strike.

"We will meet in a couple of hours to start the mandatory mediation after BHP requested that," union head Ronald Salcedo told Reuters. "The talks will last five business days, so we can try and reach an agreement. If not, the strike begins next Wednesday."

The union represents more than 1,100 workers at the copper mine located in northern Chile. Their previous collective agreement expired on May 31.

BHP said that the Spence mine, which produced 249,000 metric tons of copper last year, continues to operate normally while it seeks an amicable solution with the union.

After the initial five-day period, the parties can agree to extend the talks for another five days if they make progress in reaching an agreement.

Chile is the world's largest copper producer.

(Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero; Editing by Mark Potter)

Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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