Negotiations stall at Lundin’s Candelaria mine in Chile

Candelaria mine. Image from Lundin.

The suspension of operations at Chile’s Candelaria copper mine continued on Friday with no sign of a resolution in a contractual dispute between the company and two workers’ unions, the parties said.

Operations were halted earlier this month after the miner failed to reach a deal with a second union, representing about 550 workers.

AOS Union’s decision to walk out follows an unsuccessful mediation and comes on top of an ongoing strike by the Mina Workers Union, which began on October 8.

The company had to withdraw 2020 production, cash cost and capital cost guidance

Between them, the two unions have 1,000 workers.

Lundin denounced road blockades and illegal force used by striking workers, while the unions denounced the company’s intransigence in seeking a solution.

The company said that it would not contemplate resuming negotiations without a cessation of violent protest activity.

“There is nothing new,” Patricio Garate, president of the Mina Syndicate, the first to initiate the strike on October 8, told Reuters.

To avoid roadblocks and protests, the company has been bringing staff necessary for essential maintenance in by helicopter.

The Toronto-based company had to withdraw 2020 production, cash cost and capital cost guidance for its 80% owned mine.

Lundin had expected Candelaria to produce 160,000-175,000 tonnes of copper and 90,000-100,000 ounces of gold this year on a 100% basis, according to revised guidance in April.

While Candelaria produces far less copper than giant Chilean mines owned by BHP Group and Codelco, the collapse in talks underscores supply risks in a country that accounts for a quarter of global production. This quarter, mines with annual output of 2.8 million tonnes have labor negotiations that need to be settled, according to UBS analysts.

(With files from Reuters)

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