Monday, December 28, 2009

Strike at Chile's Altonorte copper smelter

News: Union workers at Chile's Altonorte copper smelter plan to strike and block roads on Monday after scrapping a final wage offer from owner global miner Xstrata.
Company’s profile: Altonorte is a custom copper smelting operation located near the port of Antofagasta in northern Chile. The smelter has the capacity to process 900,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year, yielding 290,000 tonnes of anode copper and 800,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid annually.
Impact: Impact could be minimal due to ongoing general maintenance of the metallurgical complex, which already lowered its copper anodes output to a minimum. The maintenance, which started last week and is carried out every 2-1/2 years, is expected to end on Jan. 20. A prolonged strike at the metallurgical complex could delay some copper anodes shipments from top producer Chile. Mining companies could also be forced to look for other smelters to process their concentrate, which could increase costs; however, analysts say the impact on the market would be minimal.

05/01/10 - Strike in Chile copper smelter has ended, with union leaders agreeing on a settlement with mangment. According to the deal, Xstrata workers will receive a 2 percent increase in base pay, a bonus of 2.4 million pesos ($4,745), a production bonus of 750,000 pesos a year and a low-interest loan of 2.04 million pesos.

Strike has provided good support to the prices, as price have risen to Rs 347 levels, a rise of Rs 10 after the news came out.

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