Mumbai: Workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine have agreed to settle for a new wage deal, ending a strike that halted regular production at the world's largest copper mine for almost 25 days. The agreement is likely to be signed today. The new salary and wage deal would replace the 2003 contract.
The deal allows for five per cent wage hike and a special bonus equal to some $17,000. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Plc, owners of Escondida - a giant open-pit mine in northern Chile - did not say when the mine would return to full production.
Industry sources expect the mine to restart full shifts within two days and it probably would take Escondida another week to resume full production.
Chile is the world's largest producer of copper and the red metal is the driver of the nation's economy. The Escondida mine accounts for more than 20 per cent of Chilean copper production. Escondida produces on an average 3,500 tonnes of copper a day and reported $2.9 billion in net profit in the first six months of the year.