Protests in Chile Impact Copper Mining

Some mining companies in Chile were, or have been, partially affected by intense protests that have shaken the world’s largest copper producer, according to reports by Reuters. Some unions have also urged their affiliates to join in the demonstrations. Even though the protests over social demands have been extremely intense and have left at least 18 dead and more than 6,000 arrested, the head of the prosecutor’s office said the unrest has not affected the production of the red metal that seriously. However, the industry has suffered indirectly due to difficulties in transportation, port operations, and the absence of suppliers.

The Mining Federation (FMC), which brings together several private industry associations, called for a stoppage of activities, although the effect was mixed in the different jobs throughout the country. The president of the FMC, Gustavo Tapia, told Reuters they had an 80% confirmation of affiliates who will participate in the mobilization, but said there was pressure from the companies to block the actions. Union leaders from BHP Spence said the mine was forced to stop operations on November 19, but the company did not make any more comments on the situation.

The assembly of workers at the Collahuasi mine did not approve to join the stoppage, union President Felipe Román told Reuters. Anglo American reported normal conditions at its operations, including its flagship mine Los Bronces, with some adjustments and flexibility in the shifts due to the country’s situation.

Lumina Copper said that the “Caserones site is operating with minimal personnel just to keep the processes stable, in order to protect the safety of its employees, collaborating companies and site facilities.”

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 12 -