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SANTIAGO, July 29 (Reuters) - Global miner BHP Billiton said on Tuesday that due to rising costs and lower ore grades it will fire approximately six percent of staff at its northern Chilean Pampa Norte division, which encompasses the Spence and Cerro Colorado copper mines.
"As part of the measures to address the structural increase in costs and the reduction in mineral ore grades at its operations, Pampa Norte has decided to reduce approximately 6 percent of its staff," said BHP Billiton in a statement.
"This decision affects, to varying degrees, workers at the administrative office in Iquique and the Spence and Cerro Colorado operations, located in the Antofagasta and Tarapaca regions, respectively," the company added.
As of December, Pampa Norte had 2,418 workers, according to company data.
In Chile, BHP Billiton also controls Escondida, the world's largest copper mine. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Nick Zieminski)