Global miner Anglo American laid off 180 workers at its flagship Los Bronces mine in central Chile, part of a plan to boost productivity at the deposit that has raised the ire of some of its unionized workers.
The layoffs were necessary to combat rising costs at the mine, Anglo American said in a statement. The mine sits high in the Andes but on the outskirts of the capital city of Santiago, well south of the majority of the country's copper deposits.
"The future viability of Los Bronces requires an adjustment in the way we're organized, how we work and the technology that we use, in order to boost our efficiency and productivity," the miner said in the statement.
The mine's Union #2 staged a temporary walk-off ahead of the announcement, and said in a statement it was considering further labor action.
Several other miners in Chile, including top copper producer Codelco, are also overhauling mines and strategies as they seek to boost productivity amid increasing demand for the red metal but sometimes declining ore grades at the country's aging deposits.
Revelo Resources (TSXV: RVL) and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM) signed this week an exploration option agreement under which the latter can acquire up to an 80% interest in Calvario and Mirador, two of Revelo's copper-focused projects in northern Chile.
Chilean copper miner Antofagasta Plc (LON:ANTO) will make a decision about going ahead with a $3B expansion of its Centinela mine, located in the country’s north, by the end of next year or in 2021.
Santiago – China's Tianqi Lithium Corp has come to an agreement over the governance of Chilean miner SQM with key shareholder Pampa Group, easing away from hostilities over control of the world's second-biggest producer of lithium.
Growing demand for smart thermostats, wind turbines and other high-tech devices is expected to keep copper the dominant material used in electrical components, industry players said, offsetting rising use of aluminum, a cheaper alternative to conduct electricity.
Codelco and other copper mining giants are set to plow billions of dollars into the revitalization of Chile's mines, but that may not be enough to keep the country from losing ground to competitors elsewhere in the world.
The president and CEO of Vancouver-based Mountainstar Gold has been slapped with a C$150,000 penalty by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) for making “false or misleading statements” regarding the Pascua Lama gold deposit in Chile.