June 1, 2017 / 4:55 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-BHP lifts force majeure declaration at Escondida copper mine

(Adds coal force majeure remains, changes dateline to Melbourne)

MELBOURNE, June 1 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton said on Thursday it has lifted a declaration of force majeure at its Escondida copper mine in Chile, more than a month after a costly strike came to an end.

BHP declared force majeure at the mine in early February at the start of a labour strike that lasted 43 days and cost the world’s biggest mining house an estimated $1 billion.

“I’m pleased to say that our copper FM (force majeure) is lifted as of today. We are back to normal,” BHP’s chief commercial officer, Arnoud Balhuizen told reporters after addressing a mining luncheon.

Force majeure remained in place on shipments from its coal mines in Australia’s Queensland state, where a cyclone in late March knocked out rail haul lines, Balhuizen said.

“We still need a bit of time to get to full normal shipments in coal,” he said. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Writing by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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