December 22, 2017 / 1:01 AM / a month ago

REFILE-Teck and union reach deal on Chile´s Quebrada Blanca mine

(Refiles to add dropped name of company in first paragraph)

By Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Teck Resources and the union representing 105 workers at its Quebrada Blanca copper mine in Chile said on Thursday they reached a new wage agreement, ending an eight-day strike.

The union, which represents about one-quarter of the mine’s workforce, agreed to a 24-month contract, the company said in a statement.

Union president Jorge Flores told Reuters: “We’ve reached an agreement with the company and beginning tomorrow, work rotations will return to normal.”

In a statement earlier this week, the company said it did not “anticipate an impact on overall production,” a claim initially disputed by union leaders.

Workers laid down their tools last Wednesday after failing to reach a deal with the company on a bonus scheme that would put the union on equal footing with the mine’s two other unions.

Those unions, earlier this year reached an agreement with Teck.

The strike is the second to hit Chile´s copper mines in the past month.

In late November, workers at BHP Billiton Plc’s Escondida mine, the world’s largest, put down their tools for 24-hours following layoffs there.

Chile’s National Mining Society has said more than 30 pending negotiations over expiring workers’ contracts in 2018 could curb output if strikes hit the sector.

Quebrada Blanca has produced 17,300 tonnes of copper so far this year. The operation is nearing the end of its life and Teck may make a decision on whether to proceed with a $4.7 billion, second-phase development in the second-quarter of 2018.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Leslie Adler/Jeremy Gaunt

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