March 13, 2017 / 7:25 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Strike at Peru's top copper mine in 4th day, output at 50 pct -union

(Adds comment on meeting on Tuesday, background)

LIMA, March 13 (Reuters) - A strike at Peru’s biggest copper mine, Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s Cerro Verde, stretched into its fourth day after a meeting between the union and management failed to resolve a dispute over labor demands, a union official said on Monday.

The mine is now producing about half as much copper as it normally does because Freeport has hired contract workers to operate key areas, said union official Jesus Revilla.

Cerro Verde produced nearly 500,000 tonnes of copper in 2016, more than double its 2015 output, thanks to an expansion.

Some 1,300 workers out of about a total of 1,650 downed tools on Friday to demand family health benefits and a bigger share of the mine’s profits as copper prices have risen, according to the union.

Union and company officials will meet again on Tuesday, Revilla said.

Freeport did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The strike is the latest disruption to global copper supplies to put pressure on prices amid a labor stoppage at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Chile and a dispute over export rights at Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia.

Freeport-McMoRan owns a 53.56 percent stake in Cerro Verde, Sumitomo Metal Mining Company Ltd has a 21 percent stake in the mine and Buenaventura has 19.58 percent.

Reporting by Marco Aquino and Mitra Taj; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney

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