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Fri Dec 14, 2018, 02:01 AM

Chilean police break up blockade of Chuquicamata copper mine: union

Chilean police break up blockade of Chuquicamata copper mine: union

Editor Tom Azzopardi
Commodity Metals

Santiago, Chile Police have broken up a blockade of the state-owned Chuquicamata copper mine in northern Chile after unions protested over health benefits and the lack of union consultation, the mine's union said Thursday.

Members of three unions, which represent around 4,500 employees at the mining and smelting complex, seized the main access roads from midday December 12, claiming that clauses in their collective wage agreement had been breached.

. . .

Chile's state mining giant Codelco said that the protests did not affect operations at the division which produced 330,910 mt of copper last year.

Codelco is striving to cut the workforce at Chuquicamata through early retirement as the mine transitions from open pit to underground mining, but workers have demanded improved conditions.


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One photo could never do this vast copper mine justice.

Chuquicamata cemetery, Chile

Every photo on this page of thumbnail picture concerns Chuquicamata copper mine:



Chuquicamata (/tʃuːkiːkəˈmɑːtə/ choo-kee-kə-MAH-t?, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by excavated volume the largest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, just outside Calama at 2,850 m (9,350 ft) above sea level, 215 km (134 mi) northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km (770 mi) north of the capital, Santiago. Flotation and smelting facilities were installed in 1952, and expansion of the refining facilities in 1968 made 500,000 ton annual copper production possible in the late 1970s. The mine is owned and operated by Codelco, a Chilean state enterprise, since the Chilean nationalization of copper in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its depth of 850 metres (2,790 ft) makes it the second deepest open-pit mine in the world (after Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah, United States).


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