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A union representing workers at BHP Group’s Escondida and Spence copper mines has rejected the company’s contract offer, Reuters reported, and called on members to walk off the job starting Thursday. Escondida is the world’s largest copper mine.
The 205 workers run the global resources company’s Integrated Operations Center, which manages pits as well as cathode and concentrator plants in the north of Chile.
The threat of a strike comes as copper prices remain close to record highs.
“Fundamentals remain supportive, with rising concerns over supply disruptions in South America due to labour negotiations and elections,” a Singapore-based copper analyst told Reuters.
“It (copper demand) is still weak but premiums might have hit a bottom. Previous pullback in prices also invited buying interest from end users’ restocking activities. Firm contango will also favour traders’ long and carry strategy.”
The dollar, wallowing near a five-month low against major peers on Wednesday, is making greenback-priced metals cheaper and more appealing to holders of other currencies.
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(With files from Reuters)