March 24, 2014 / 9:21 PM / 6 years ago

Anglo American halting Chile Los Bronces mine ops due to protest

Trucks travel along roads at the Los Bronces copper mine, some 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Santiago city and 3500 meters above sea level in this March 20, 2009 file picture. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/Files

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Global miner Anglo American Plc (AAL.L) said on Monday it was halting operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in central Chile because of a violent protest by contract workers.

Los Bronces, perched high in the Andes near Santiago, produced 416,300 tons of copper last year.

In the early hours of Monday, contract workers launched a protest against what they say are layoff threats and the London-listed miner’s refusal to negotiate a series of demands. It is unclear how long the labor action could last.

The demonstrators lit fire to tires, damaged installations and looted during the protest, according to Anglo.

“Anglo American informs that due to the violent actions and damage that has occurred at Los Bronces, (the company) has decided to halt operations at Los Bronces to guarantee the safety of all the company’s workers,” the miner said in a statement.

“The process of halting the mineral-processing plants has started, and once finished the evacuation of workers will begin, in so far as we have safety guarantees for the internal and external roads,” Anglo said, adding it had asked for authorities’ help.

Anglo owns 50.1 percent of the deposit. Chilean state miner Codelco CODEL.UL and Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co (8031.T) and Mitsubishi (8058.T) also have stakes in the complex.

Anglo American’s other mines in world No.1 copper producer Chile are operating normally, the company added.

Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Chris Reese

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