Codelco Mine Strike to Hit Output

13 December 2009 (Last Updated December 13th, 2009 18:30)

An indefinite union workers' strike that has halted mining activities at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine complex in Chile will affect its overall output, the company said. The protest started last Wednesday but has not spread to other deposits of Codelco, which had expected the open-pit min

An indefinite union workers' strike that has halted mining activities at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine complex in Chile will affect its overall output, the company said.

The protest started last Wednesday but has not spread to other deposits of Codelco, which had expected the open-pit mine to produce 380,000t of copper this year, according to Reuters.

However, the union workers blocked the adjacent Mina Sur deposit, which is expected to bring total production in the area to 565,000t.

The company says that production will be affected in the Codelco Norte division, which includes the century-old Chuquicamata and the newer Mina Sur, as well as the Radomiro Tomic copper deposit.

Codelco CEO Jose Pablo Arellano said the situation is hurting the workers and will damage the whole country if the mine loses output.

Union leaders said Codelco wants to cut benefits such as handouts for housing and holidays, and also change contractual terms for employees hired next year.