Strikes Stop Work at Chile’s Spence Mine

29 October 2009 (Last Updated October 29th, 2009 18:30)

BHP Billiton said that all non-essential activity at its Chile-based Spence copper mine has been halted due to the strike that commenced on 13 October. Workers at the mine began a strike after union members vetoed BHP's wage offer following a government-assisted mediation period.

BHP Billiton said that all non-essential activity at its Chile-based Spence copper mine has been halted due to the strike that commenced on 13 October.

Workers at the mine began a strike after union members vetoed BHP's wage offer following a government-assisted mediation period.

The Australian miner said that all mining, crushing and stacking activity has now been stopped as a result, and that it would be difficult to restart negotiations with workers, according to Bloomberg.

BHP said workers continue to illegally occupy a site in the property area, making it hard for the company to restart talks without having the adequate levels of safety and security at the location.

Union head Andres Ramirez said BHP's wage proposal to the Spence workers is not sufficient.

Workers are demanding a 5% pay hike and benefits akin to those provided to workers at the Escondida copper mine, president of Chile’s Mining Federation Pedro Marin said.

Striking workers may interrupt Spence’s activities by blocking roads to stop copper shipments if the company does not listen to the strikers’ demands, he said.

BHP generated 172,685t of copper at the Spence mine in the 12 months up to 30 June and aims to attain full capacity of 200,000t next year, BHP said.