October 3, 2019 / 8:03 PM / 20 days ago

Chile's Antofagasta seeks to stave off strike at small Antucoya copper mine

SANTIAGO, Chile, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Chile’s Antofagasta , one of the world’s top copper miners, negotiated on Thursday with workers in hopes of staving off a strike at its small Antucoya deposit in northern Chile, though union leaders said there had been little progress in discussions.

The government-mediated negotiations follow the union’s decision to reject Antofagasta Plc’s final contract offer, raising the specter of a strike.

The union’s president, Cesar Garcia, told Reuters the company had delivered a proposal “the same as the one it had previously offered.”

“That’s no way to reach an agreement,” Garcia said.

The talks at Antucoya, which in 2018 produced 72,200 tonnes of copper, are set to continue for five days. The parties may then request an extension of negotiations.

The union of supervisors at Antofagasta’s larger Los Pelambres mine, which produced 370,500 tonnes of copper in 2018, also recently rejected a final contract offer. Union leaders there told Reuters they expected the company would seek a government-mediated negotiation.

Antofagasta declined to comment on either of the ongoing negotiations.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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