BHP to Resume Spence Mine Production Following Strikes

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

BHP Billiton will resume full production capacity at its Chile-based Spence copper mine in January after a 42-day strike impacted operations. The strike ended after the Spence union agreed to BHP's proposal of a 41-month wage and benefits package that involves a 4% wage hike, a $14,200

BHP Billiton will resume full production capacity at its Chile-based Spence copper mine in January after a 42-day strike impacted operations.

The strike ended after the Spence union agreed to BHP's proposal of a 41-month wage and benefits package that involves a 4% wage hike, a $14,200 end-of-negotiations bonus and a $4,000 interest-free loan.

On 13 October, Spence miners began a strike after the union rejected BHP's offer of $15,000 in bonuses and a 4% wage increase following a government-assisted mediation period.

Following the strike, BHP stopped ore extraction but continued certain industrial processes needed for copper cathodes production.

All operations, however, were closed after the strikers unlawfully took over mine facilities.

BHP spokesman Mauro Valdez said the miners are in a re-induction period and that next week Spence should be running at the levels it had during the strike, with mining and crushing operations resuming early next month.

The strike caused the mine, which generated 164,000t of copper cathode in 2008, to lose 500t of copper output per day this month.