SANTIAGO, Jan 12 The union at the world's
largest copper mine Escondida has given the deposit controlled
by global miner BHP Billiton until Monday to propose a new
contract agreement within the framework of early labor talks,
the union said in a statement on Saturday.
If the proposal is deemed satisfactory, the union will call
on its members to vote on its acceptance. Otherwise, the union
will consider the process of early contract negotiations
terminated, and will begin preparing itself for the standard
"We have made clear to Escondida mine our disposition to
wait until Monday Jan. 14 as a deadline to reach a deal, and if
that agreement truly contains workers' legitimate and deserved
aspirations, it will be presented to the bases for their
consideration," the union said in a statement on its web site.
BHP was not immediately available to
comment. No details were obtainable on the company's proposal or
the union's demands.
Escondida's union stunned the copper market in 2011 by
staging a two-week strike, sending the mine's output tumbling
and raising the specter of an increase in labor action.
BHP and Rio Tinto, which owns 30 percent of the
mine, have approved plans for a $4.5 billion expansion of
Escondida to boost output.