Workers at BHP Billiton's Spence mine in Chile agree to three-year contract
SANTIAGO Dec 10 (Reuters) - Unionized workers at BHP Billiton's Spence copper mine in Chile agreed to a new three-year contract proposed by the global miner on Thursday.
In addition to a salary increase and other benefits, each of the 848 workers under the new contract will receive a one-time payment of 2 million Chilean pesos ($2,843) for accepting the deal.
Spence produced 176,100 tonnes of copper in 2014. That is far less than several of Chile's biggest mines, but still mid-range in terms of output in the top copper exporter.
Several mines have scaled back their operations and reduced personnel in Chile in recent months as soft demand for copper has pushed prices to their lowest level in over six years.
Earlier in December, BHP's president announced a plan to cut production costs to weather market headwinds.
The deal "is a reflection of the maturity achieved by the members of our union, who are aware of the current economic scenario of copper prices," said union head Ronald Salcedo in a statement.
($1 = 703.4200 Chilean pesos) (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Fabian Cambero; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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