SMM12, April 4: Monday, Chile time, a worker protest ended, the protest led to the second largest copper mine under Codelco to stop production. On Monday morning, the road leading to the Codelco Lamiro Tomiki (Radomiro Tomic) mine in northern Chile was blocked, with protesters setting up roadblocks across the road, lighting tires and protesting gender discrimination and layoffs, according to the union. A few hours later, the workers lifted the blockade, and the factory was up and running at 12: 30 p.m. local time. Codelco said in an email statement that the protests did not affect copper production. The mine produced 254000 tons of copper in the first three quarters of this year.
Ronald Salcedo, the union president, said about 50 workers had been laid off in addition to eight supervisors, causing unease among the remaining workers at the mine and prompting them to strike. BHP later confirmed in a statement that it had laid off 57 workers, including mine operators, regulators and maintenance workers, but said the mine was operating properly again. Spence produced 198600 tons of copper in 2017. BHP said the layoffs were the result of a review of "considerations for the safe and sustainable operation of its operations, processes and resources". BHP Billiton has said it will spend nearly $2.5 billion to extend the life of the pence deposit by more than 50 years, creating as many as 5000 jobs and refurbishing capacity by 2021. But union president Salcedo told local B í oB í o radio station, "these layoffs are strange because the cost of the mine is under control and the profit is normal, because the company is pushing for an upgrade project, and it is common sense that the company should employ more workers." The expansion of the Spence copper mine aims to build a concentrator and a desalination plant at Mejillones Port, about 60 km north of Antofagasta, which will be built and operated by third parties. BHP Billiton has pledged a 20-year lease worth $1.43 billion. According to CEO Andrew Mackenzie, it is estimated that the Spence project will create 5000 jobs during the construction phase.
BHP Billiton, already the world's second-largest listed copper miner, has taken steps to increase its influence in the market. While approving Spence's expansion, the company last year raised its annual exploration spending by 29 per cent, devoting almost all of its $900m budget to finding new copper resources.
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