UPDATE 3-Chile Collahuasi strike talks face final hurdle

* Deal to end 29-day strike seen near, bonus a hurdle

* Strike the longest in Chilean private copper mining

* Mine says working to normalize operations despite strike
(Adds bonus disagreement)

By Fabian Cambero

IQUIQUE, Chile, Dec 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s giant Collahuasi mine and its
union leaders wrangled on Friday over bonuses in the last stretch of
negotiations to end a month-long strike at the world’s No. 3 copper

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

“The company has agreed to postpone the final meeting at their (union
leaders) request… we will receive them at 2 p.m. (1700 GMT),” said
Bernardita Fernandez, the mine’s spokeswoman.

Sources close to the talks, who asked not to be identified, said both
sides are close to an agreement, but are struggling to reach a deal on
bonus payments for workers.

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]

Graphic: http://r.reuters.com/deh22q

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. Collahuasi’s Fernandez
said earlier on Friday work continued to normalize operations, 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 precedence.
(Writing by Alonso Soto and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Simon Gardner)

UPDATE 3-Chile Collahuasi strike talks face final hurdle