Chilean Miners Strike Deal; Copper Production to Resume

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Workers at the world’s largest copper mine have agreed to a deal to end a two-week-old strike that stoked fears about global supplies.

The workers at Chile’s Escondida approved the agreement with mine owner BHP Billiton Friday, agreeing to take much less in production bonuses than they originally demanded.

A union representative said almost 66 percent of the miners agreed to the deal. Production is expected to resume beginning Saturday.

The Escondida mine accounts for 7 percent of the world’s copper output. BHP Billiton estimates production dropped by 40,000 tons during the strike.

Rising copper prices have boosted profits for mine owners. The work stoppage at Escondida, as well as a 24-hour strike recently at Chile’s Collahuasi mine, also prompted concerns that more miners around the world will start walking off the job to demand better pay and disrupt production.

Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper.