Chile’s Codelco secures labor deal with unions at El Teniente copper complex

Chile's state-owned copper producer Codelco has removed the threat of strike action by signing a final labor deal with the unions representing employees at its El Teniente division.

The new terms of the labor agreement will be in place until the end of 2024, the company said on Tuesday August 31.

Codelco had reached an agreement with the El Teniente and Caletones unions on August 28, but the deal now includes the No5, No7 and Mina Unificado unions.

Combined, the unions represent about 3,300 workers at the El Teniente complex, which includes underground and open-pit mines, the Caletones smelter and the Colón concentrator.

The company did not provide any further details about the deal.

Codelco has, meanwhile, continued to face strike action at its Andina mine since mid August and, elsewhere in Chile, workers downed tools at the JX Nippon Mining & Metals-owned Caserones mine.

El Teniente produced 443,220 tonnes of copper in 2020, while output at Andina was 184,437 tonnes, according to Codelco’s earnings report. Chile produced a total of 5.73 million tonnes of copper in 2020.

Spot treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) from Asian smelters have been on the rise in recent weeks after touching an all-time low of $21.90 per tonne on April 9, amid recovering South American production and higher market liquidity.

Fastmarkets’ copper concentrates TC index, cif Asia Pacific was $57.90 per tonne on August 27, up 1.94% from $56.80 per tonne on August 20. The index hit a record low of $21.90 per tonne on April 9.