Anglo American lays off 180 workers at Chile copper mine

Los Bronces copper mine in Chile. (Image courtesy of Anglo American | Flickr)

Global miner Anglo American laid off 180 workers at its flagship Los Bronces mine in central Chile, part of a plan to boost productivity at the deposit that has raised the ire of some of its unionized workers.

The layoffs were necessary to combat rising costs at the mine, Anglo American said in a statement. The mine sits high in the Andes but on the outskirts of the capital city of Santiago, well south of the majority of the country’s copper deposits.

Los Bronces produced 369,500 tonnes of copper in 2018.

“The future viability of Los Bronces requires an adjustment in the way we’re organized, how we work and the technology that we use, in order to boost our efficiency and productivity,” the miner said in the statement.

The mine’s Union #2 staged a temporary walk-off ahead of the announcement, and said in a statement it was considering further labor action.

Several other miners in Chile, including top copper producer Codelco, are also overhauling mines and strategies as they seek to boost productivity amid increasing demand for the red metal but sometimes declining ore grades at the country’s aging deposits.

(By Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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