Strikes hit BHP, Anglo, De Beers and Xstrata across three continents

Bloomberg reports BHP workers in Chile voted Sunday to extend their strike at the world’s largest copper mine. Stoppages at BHP’s Australian coal operations may resume this week. Thirty thousand South African coal mine workers including Anglo American and Xstrata employees walked off the job Sunday and may be joined by 160,000 gold industry workers. Strikes that started over the weekend are impacting output from mines of diamond giant De Beers.

Workers are seeking a larger slice as global producers report record earnings: Melbourne-based BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, is expected to report full-year profits of $22.5 billion next month, almost double 2010’s net income. Xstrata may report record 2011 profit of $7.3 billion and Anglo American $7.4 billion, estimates show.

Bloomberg reports the strikes may have bolstered coal prices already driven higher by supply shortages following floods in the Australian state earlier this year. Steelmaking-coal prices rose 47 percent to a record $330 a ton for three-month contracts ended in June after heavy rain and flooding in Australia shut mines and disrupted deliveries in the first three months of the year.

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