SÃO PAULO More
than 500 contracted workers employed at the BHP
Billiton-operated Escondida copper mine have been dismissed
following demonstrations that took place earlier this month,
according to information on Radio Universidad de Chiles
Workers at the mine in the
Antofagasta region of northern Chile had obstructed roads and
blocked the mines main access route during wage protests
that took place between Feb. 28 and March 3.
The BSK consortium, hired by BHP
to provide workers and formed by Sigdo Koppers and Bechtel
Chile, decided to dismiss the people who were involved in the
This corresponds to about 10
percent of the employees, which the consortium provides for
projects related to Escondida, according to Chilean newspaper
BHP declined to comment.
Escondida is the worlds
largest copper mine, producing 1.07 million tonnes last year,
up 31.5 percent from 2011.
In 2011, Escondidas
workers had gone on a two-week strike to demand bonus pay and
protest working conditions.
The strike in that year forced
Escondida to declare force majeure on its copper
sales, which lasted more than one month.
Escondida is owned by BHP
Billiton (57.5 percent), Rio Tinto (30 percent), Jeco Corp. (10
percent) and Jeco 2 Ltd. (2.5 percent).
A version of this article was
first published by AMM sister publication Metal