Anglo American restarts operations at Los Bronces, Chile

25 March 2014 (Last Updated March 25th, 2014 18:30)

Mining and natural resources company Anglo American has announced the restart of operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in central Chile, after a violent protest by contract workers.

Mining and natural resources company Anglo American has announced the restart of operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in central Chile, after a violent protest by contract workers.

Located 65km north-east of Chile's capital, Santiago, the Los Bronces open cut mine produces copper, molybdenum and cathodes.

Anglo American spokesman Marcelo Esquivel in Chile told Reuters that no estimates are available to gauge how the stoppage has affected production at the mine, which is expected to be operating normally by the end of the day.

"Contract workers launched a protest in the early hours of Monday morning claiming lay-off threats."

"Shift workers are already going up to the mine to be able to restart operations," Esquivel said.

Los Bronces is 50.1%-owned by its operator Anglo American and 20.4%-owned by Mitsubishi, while Chile's state-owned Codelco and its joint venture partner Mitsui hold the remaining 29.5% stake.

The contract workers launched a protest in the early hours of Monday morning claiming lay-off threats and the miner's refusal to negotiate a series of demands.

The protest comes as Chile's mining boom has slowed down.

The mining sector in Chile is one of the pillars of the country's economy and copper exports alone make for more than one third of government income.

However, a series of mining strikes have hit Chile in the past when prices of copper were said to be higher and workers were seeking a bigger share.

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