Operations halted at Chile’s Enami copper smelter after union’s strike

SANTIAGO – A strike at state-owned Hernan Videla Lira smelter in northern Chile has halted operations, state mining development agency Enami said.

The state-owned firm announced earlier this week that it had suspended operations at its Paipote smelter (Fundición Hernán Videla Lira) in the Atacama region due to the action led by the union Sindicato No 2 de Trabajadores. This stoppage leads to a financial “loss that as each day of strike goes by, it becomes more difficult to assign the resources that were originally offered to the union,” Enami said.

Members of the No 2 Workers Union at the metallurgical complex began their protest at midnight Tuesday local time after talks over a new collective contract ended without agreement, the Platts reported.

The smelter, in the copper-rich Atacama region, has can treat 340,000 mt/year of material and last year produced 84,516 mt of copper anode.

Enami will make a final delivery of anodes Wednesday but will continue to receive deliveries of minerals and concentrates from mining companies under normal conditions, the company said.

The state-owned company supports Chile’s small and medium-sized mining operations by providing technical support, processing capacity and stable prices when metals markets dip.