Chile´s mining industry operating normally despite violent protests: minister

FILE PHOTO: Chilean Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica, speaks during the CRU's World Copper Conference in Santiago, Chile April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile´s mining industry was running as normal despite the violent protests that have rocked the capital, Santiago, and other cities across the world´s top copper producer, Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica said on Sunday.

The protests over an increase in public transport costs prompted President Sebastian Pinera to reverse the fare hikes and declare a state of emergency.

Prokurica told Reuters in an email that all of the country´s mines, including those owned by the world´s top copper producer, Codelco, were operating normally. Chile is home to several of the world´s largest miners, including BHP Group Ltd BHP.AX, Anglo American Plc AAL.L, Teck Resources Ltd Teckb.TO and Antofagasta Plc ANTO.L.

“There have been no attacks (at the mines). On the contrary, they are operating normally,” Prokurica said.

Prokurica added that the companies had taken measures to ensure shift workers could enter the mines despite countrywide transportation blockages.

Major streets and highways around Santiago were shut down over the weekend, and flights in and out of the city were suspended or canceled as crew members and airport staff were unable to get to work.

Most of Chile´s major mines are located in the northern third of the country, far from population centers.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Peter Cooney