Colombian coal mine mechanics to continue talks Weds to end strike

BOGOTA, July 23 Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:02am EDT

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BOGOTA, July 23 (Reuters) - Talks between mechanics at Colombia's largest coal mines, contractor Dimantec and the labor ministry will continue on Wednesday in an effort to end a 13-day strike, a union leader said.

The meeting is set to begin at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) in the northern city of Valledupar, Sintraime union head Felix Herrera told Reuters, after the sides failed to reach a deal on Tuesday.

The 3,500-strong mechanics group is demanding improved pay, after Dimantec maintained the same salary offer made in previous negotiations, he said.

The mechanics maintain and repair heavy machinery used in the extraction of around 90 million tonnes of coal per year. Dimantec provides mechanics to Colombia's biggest miners, including Cerrejon and U.S.-based Drummond Co, which Herrera said were affected by the strike.

Coal prices have reacted little to news of the strike, which comes during a period of ample stocks and mild weather in Europe, which has eased demand in that key market.

Colombia's largest coal miner is joint venture Cerrejon, owned by Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton and Glencore Plc. The No. 2 miner is Drummond.

Dimantec and Drummond could not immediately be reached for comment. Cerrejon said it could not comment immediately. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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