Codelco unions ready strike after troubled Chile smelter shuttered

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Staff at Chilean state-owned miner Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, mentioned on Saturday they may begin preparations for a nationwide strike after the agency introduced the closure of the troubled Ventanas smelter.

Unions had threatened to strike for the previous week if the Codelco board didn’t make investments to improve the power after an environmental incident sickened dozens of individuals. On Friday the corporate as a substitute selected to close it down.

The Federation of Copper Staff (FTC), which teams Codelco’s unions, mentioned it regretted that the agency had “assumed unique duty for the environmental episodes within the Puchuncaví and Quintero space” in an industrial coastal area.

“In keeping with the settlement adopted with the assist of our union bases, we’ll start to organize from this minute the nationwide strike in all Codelco divisions,” the FTC mentioned in a press release, with out giving extra particulars.

“Our motion will proceed so long as the federal government and the Codelco Board of Administrators insist on the closure of Ventanas and don’t inexperienced mild the assets to permit the Codelco smelters to proceed as aggressive and sustainable items.”

Codelco stopped work on the Ventanas smelter and refinery earlier in June to hold out upkeep after authorities declared an environmental emergency within the area.

The closure would require the modification of a legislation that obliges Codelco to smelt minerals from the additionally state-owned Enami, coming from small and medium-sized mining, solely in Ventanas.

Environmental activists have lengthy known as Quintero and its environment an environmental “sacrifice zone” attributable to successive episodes of air pollution which have induced public well being emergencies. The city is saturated with industries that additionally embody the state oil firm ENAP and chemical vegetation.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Modifying by Daniel Wallis)

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