SANTIAGO, Sep 02, 2011 (Dow Jones ) -- Chilean copper mine Escondida, controlled and operated by global company BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP, BHP.AU), on Friday lifted force majeure on its copper concentrate shipments, after invoking the clause on July 27 due to a unionized workers strike.
The force majeure contract suspension allows a company to temporarily halt its commitments due to an event beyond its control.
In a filing to the local SVS securities regulator, Escondida, the world's biggest copper mine, said it "had notified its clients that as of today [Friday] it would lift force majeure" on its copper shipments.
Escondida produces copper in concentrates and, to a lesser degree, large sheets of 99.99% pure copper called cathodes.
The mine's sole union, comprising 2,375 members, went on a 15-day strike, which ended on Aug. 5, to protest what it called unmet contract terms.
The mining company said the strike was illegal as it took place outside the regular collective contract negotiations period.
Union leaders, however, said the strike was legal because they were renegotiating terms of the 2009 collective bargain.
BHP holds a controlling 57.5% stake while Rio Tinto PLC (RIO, RIO.LN) holds 30%. The remaining 12.5% is held by a Japanese consortium led by Mitsubishi Corp. (MSBHY, 8058.TO).
Last year, Escondida produced 1.086 million metric tons of copper, a 1% drop from its 2009 output.