Chile Collahuasi near deal, bonus only hurdle

* Deal to end 29-day strike seen near

* Strike the longest in Chilean private copper mining

By Fabian Cambero

IQUIQUE, Chile, Dec 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s giant Collahuasi
mine and its workers are close to a deal to end a month-long
strike at the world’s No. 3 copper deposit, and head into talks
on Friday aiming to defuse a deadlock over bonuses.

The strike entered its 29th day on Friday, the longest-ever
at a major private Chilean copper deposit.

“The problem here is the bonus,” said one source close to
the talks, who asked not to be identified because he is not
allowed to speak publicly about the negotiations between union
leaders and the company.

Both labor and management have appeared keen on a deal to
end the strike, which is longer than a nearly four-week 2006
stoppage at Escondida, the world’s top copper mine.

A deal will likely need to be ratified in a workers vote.

TAKE-A-LOOK Collahuasi mine strike [ID:nN27209201]

TIMELINE-Major Chile mine strikes [ID:nN04140477]

ANALYSIS on Chile mines adapting to strikes [ID:nN30273440]


The advances came after tensions flared at the negotiating
table following a brief clash on Wednesday between police and
workers demanding local authorities force strike defectors back
onto the picket line.

Collahuasi has operated with limited production losses,
thanks to a contingency plan that kept key operations running.
Mine spokeswoman Bernardita Fernandez said on Thursday
operations were normalizing satisfactorily, but did not give
details on how they compared to pre-strike levels.

For weeks, Collahuasi has said operations were normal
according to a contingency plan, and has delivered copper to
buyers in Asia and Europe.

At least 220 full-time workers broke from the strike at
Collahuasi, which extracts 3.3 percent of global mined copper,
or 535,000 tonnes a year. The mine has also hired hundreds of
temporary workers and around 100 new, permanent employees.

The mine, owned by Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Anglo American
(AAL.L: ), had by last week probably suffered minimal losses of
about 6,000 tonnes, or about 1 percent of annual output,
traders say.

Copper prices (CMCU3: ) rose with news of a possible strike,
but since have shown little sensitivity to the walkout, partly
because the operator has kept supplies flowing and other
factors such as the euro zone debt crisis have taken
(Writing by Alonso Soto and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Simon
Gardner and Richard Chang)

Chile Collahuasi near deal, bonus only hurdle