Codelco's Ministro Hales, workers agree on collective contracts
SANTIAGO Feb 5 (Reuters) - World No. 1 copper producer Codelco and workers at its Ministro Hales mine have struck a deal on collective contracts, including wage increases and benefits, that will last nearly four years, the Chilean state-owned company said on Thursday.
Securing the deal with 349 of Ministro Hales' workers is a weight off Codelco's shoulders as collective contract negotiations can sometimes sour and lead to costly labor strikes.
The contracts will provide wage increases of 1.85 percent, one-time bonuses of almost 10 million pesos ($16,009) per worker, and loans for an unspecified amount.
Ministro Hales, which was in its ramp-up phase in 2014 and produced 109,000 tonnes of copper in January to September, is emblematic in many ways both of Codelco's hopes and its challenges.
It has been crucial to boosting Codelco's production but was dogged last year with problems at the mine's key roaster, which is designed to reduce levels of arsenic in the ore to make copper ready for use in traditional smelters. ($1 = 624.6500 pesos) (Reporting by Anthony Esposito Editing by W Simon)
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