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Strike ends at Chile’s ports as workers reach settlement

Jan 28, 2014 | 11:18 AM |

Tags  Chile strike, port strike, copper, Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile, Codelco, Antofagasta, Barrick Gold, Carolina Guerra


SÃO PAULO — Workers at Chilean ports have ended a monthlong strike after reaching an agreement, according to local media reports.

The strike, which began over pay Dec. 23, started at the Angamos port and spread to several ports in Chile, including those used for shipping copper, such as Iquique and San Antonio.

"Antofagasta Terminal International informs (its) customers and users that the situation that generated the illegal closure of the port ... is now solved," it said in a statement. The Antofagasta port is used for copper shipments from companies such as London-based Antofagasta Plc and Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp.

The terms of the settlement call for companies to pay a bonus to each worker and rehire stevedores dismissed during the stoppage, according to Chilean newspaper El Mostrador. In addition, the government said it is committed to discussing changes in working conditions for Chilean port workers.

The strike had led Barrick Gold’s Zaldivar division to declare force majeure Jan. 10 on shipments of copper from the Antofagasta terminal (amm.com, Jan. 10).

Sources close to Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), the world’s biggest copper producer, said the company was only partially affected by the protests. "Codelco did not have many problems as it could ship copper cathode from Mejillones (Chile) and other ports," a source at Codelco told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin Jan. 24, before the strike ended.

Local media reports had estimated at the end of December that the copper major had lost $130 million in earnings due to the strike (amm.com, Jan. 9), but Codelco said it remained confident that its earnings would be largely unaffected.

A version of the story was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.




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