Chile Chuquicamata smelter strike over, operations normal -union
SANTIAGO Dec 26 (Reuters) - Smelting operations at state copper miner Codelco's massive Chuquicamata mine have returned to normal after a strike that lasted more than two weeks, a union worker said on Thursday.
Workers ended the stoppage at the smelter in northern Chile on Friday after clinching a deal with world No.1 copper producer Codelco that includes some salary increases.
"We didn't achieve everything we wanted but we undoubtedly achieved some important things," said Jaime Graz, the spokesperson for one of the mine's unions, which includes smelter workers. "The mood is much improved."
It was not immediately clear what the strike cost Codelco in terms of production and revenue. Requests for comments from the company went unanswered.
Codelco is in the midst of a sometimes tense overhaul of century-old Chuquicamata to turn the mine into a sprawling underground complex.
Lay-offs have already hit the mine, located in the Atacama desert, and some workers fear further cuts may be ahead as the company downsizes and seeks to boost efficiency.
Chuquicamata produced 237,000 tonnes of copper in the January to September period of this year, a roughly 5 percent fall compared with the same period of 2012, as ore grades dwindle.
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