September 6, 2016 / 1:32 PM / 2 years ago

Chile's Codelco expects Salvador mine strike resolution soon -CEO

SANTIAGO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s biggest copper miner, expects to resolve a strike by workers at its smallest mine, Salvador, in the coming days, Chief Executive Nelson Pizarro said on Tuesday.

After Codelco failed to reach agreement with one of its unions in contract talks, workers at the Salvador copper deposit began protests on Monday, blocking access and affecting production.

When asked when Codelco expected to resolve the conflict and have the strike end, Pizarro told journalists on the sidelines of a mining conference: “We expect that to happen in the coming days.”

The strike is legal because it followed a scheduled negotiation period, but Pizarro said that blocking access roads to the mine is against the law.

Salvador produced 49,000 tonnes of copper in 2015. It is Codelco’s smallest and highest-cost mine, and the company is battling to keep a lid on costs to ensure production is viable at a time when copper prices are low. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Fabian Cambero; Editing by Will Dunham)

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