Workers at Chile's Los Pelambres mine extend contract talks - industry group

SANTIAGO, March 20 (Reuters) - Workers at Antofagasta PLC’s Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile have opted to extend a period of government mediation in an effort to reach agreement on a new labor contract, an industry group said on Tuesday.

Workers in the mine’s largest union last week rejected an offer for a new labor contract, triggering a period of government mediation and paving the way for an eventual strike.

“By mutual agreement, we have agreed to a period of five days during which we will vote on the company’s final offer,” said union leader Dino Saltori in a statement published by the Chilean Mining Federation, an industry group.

“In the last few hours we have reached agreement on certain issues, though anything can still happen,” Saltori added.

The industry group said a final vote could take place as early as this weekend.

Antofagasta did not immediate reply to requests for comment.

Los Pelambres, which recently received environmental approval for a $1.1 billion infrastructure upgrade plan, produced 356,300 tons of copper last year.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)