April 12, 2016 / 9:07 PM / 2 years ago

BHP Billiton to lay off 7 pct of workers at Spence copper mine in Chile

SANTIAGO, April 12 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton will lay off about 7 percent of the 1,060 workers at its Spence copper mine in Chile, the mine’s union said on Tuesday.

Tumbling copper prices have forced mining companies globally to lay off workers and scale back investment plans in a bid to cut costs and remain afloat.

“The company says the main reason for this is organizational restructuring and problems due to the drop in copper prices,” union chief Ronald Salcedo told Reuters.

In total, 77 workers are being laid of at Spence, including 11 supervisors, Salcedo added.

A source close to the Anglo-Australian company confirmed the layoffs.

Spence produced 175,600 tonnes of copper last year.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Peter Cooney

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