Freeport's Chile-based El Abra mine, union seal wage agreement

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Chilean copper mine El Abra, controlled by Freeport-McMoran Inc, accepted a wage contract offered by the company, union President Juana Mejias said on Thursday.

Tensions between the union and Arizona-based Freeport, the world’s biggest listed copper producer, have been high since the company scaled back El Abra’s operations last year and laid off 650 workers.

“We finished (negotiating) with the company and we’re in the process of reconciling with the workers,” Mejias said in a phone interview, without providing details of the agreement.

Freeport, which owns a 51 percent stake in the mine in northern Chile, also confirmed that it had reached an agreement with the union, but did not provide further details.

El Abra produced 147,200 tonnes of copper last year, according to state copper commission Cochilco.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Anthony Esposito and Peter Cooney