Workers at BHP’s Spence copper mine in Chile approve labor contract

Spence copper mine. (Image courtesy of BHP.)

SANTIAGO, June 11 (Reuters) – Unionized workers at BHP Billiton’s Spence copper mine in northern Chile have approved a new labor contract, union president Ronald Salcedo said on Monday.

Spence is one of the Anglo-Australian miner two mines in Chile. The other, Escondida, the world’ largest copper mine, earlier this month entered into labor negotiations following a historic strike that shut down the mine for 44 days last year, depriving BHP of $1 billion in production.

Salcedo said the 36-month contract at Spence, which includes a one-time bonus of nearly $21,500 per worker, was approved by 87 percent of the union’s approximately 900 members.

The deal also includes a 2 percent increase over current base salaries, Salcedo said.

BHP is spending $2.46 billion to extend the life of Spence by more than 50 years, creating up to 5,000 jobs and bringing new output online from 2021.

Spence produced 198,600 tonnes of copper in 2017.

(Reporting By Dave Sherwood and Antonio de la Jara; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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