Fresh strike hits BHP Billiton’s Spence mine in Chile


Workers of Spence copper mine, owned by BHP Billiton, in Chile went on strike for 24 hours on Monday due to slow progress in talks over contractual terms.

Earlier this month, the workers went on protest twice, on 13 May and 3 May.

Last month, the company cut 7% jobs out of the 1,060 workers at the Spence mine.

"Spence recently fired around 7% of its personnel, which has meant a considerable increase in labour load and, subsequently, deficient security conditions."

The company then stated that the job cuts were undertaken due to low-prices and weak demand from China, which is a key market, a union official told Reuters.

Last year, the mine produced 175,600t of copper.

The latest strikes comes as BHP recently stated that it is reviewing a $2.2bn investment plan to bolster the operation of the mine.

This investment is expected to extend the life of the mine by five decades.

During 13 May strike, Chile Mining Federation director of conflicts Pedro Valdivia was quoted by Reuters as saying: "It must be mentioned additionally that Spence recently fired around 7% of its personnel, which has meant a considerable increase in labour load and, subsequently, deficient security conditions."