April 8, 2013 / 1:36 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Chile's Codelco restarts shipments following port strike

* Chile port strike had slammed copper exports
    * Planned Codelco strike would have "marginal" effect-CEO
    * Codelco seeking to boost 2013 output to around 1.7 mln T

    SANTIAGO, April 8 (Reuters) - Chilean state miner Codelco
 has restarted its copper shipments following the end
of an extended port strike, though it will take roughly a month
for normal rhythm to resume, chief executive Thomas Keller said
on Monday.
    Most ports in Chile returned to normal operations on
Saturday after an extended strike that slammed the No. 1 copper
producer's exports. Key ports in the
mineral-rich North are operational.
    Codelco had said nearly 60,000 tonnes of its copper had been
blocked by the stoppage, equivalent to around $500 million in
    Keller told reporters ahead of the CESCO/CRU copper
conference in Santiago this week that he does not expect a
relevant impact on copper production due to potential labor
strife during an electoral year. 
    Unions representing workers at Codelco, the world's biggest
copper producer, and mining companies including BHP Billiton
  said they will announce the date of a planned
nationwide strike later on Monday. 
    The impact of the planned strike will be "marginal," Keller
    Chile's hotly contested presidential election in November is
seen galvanizing labor unrest as unions seek to make their
issues heard. 
    Angamos port workers walked off the job about three weeks
ago to seek a 30-minute lunch break and other benefits. That
dispute over relatively minor issues escalated into a crisis for
export-dependent Chile. 
    Codelco aims to propel this year's output above the
disappointing 1.647 million tonnes it produced in 2012, as its
new Ministro Hales mine starts operations in December, Keller
    Increased production at Codelco, which produces roughly 11
percent of the world's red metal, and other mines could lead the
global copper market to tilt into a "moderate" surplus this
year, he said. 
    Copper prices will remain volatile this year, Keller
    Copper demand from top metals consumer China should grow
between 5 and 7 percent this year, he added. 
    Keller said there has been some relevant destocking in 
bonded warehouses, putting the figure at around 150,000 tonnes.

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