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Freeport Cerro Verde, Workers Sign Three-Year Labor Accord

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Peruvian unit, which ended a 61-day strike last month, said it signed a three-year labor accord with workers that will enable it to move ahead with a $3.5 billion expansion.

The agreement with Freeport’s Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde SAA copper mine, which lasts through August 2014, includes a 5 percent wage rise in 2012, 4 percent annual increases over the following two years and a 24,000 soles ($8,888) signing bonus, union official William Camacho said today by telephone.

“We’ve achieved a temporary peace, although there are still issues pending,” Camacho said today from Arequipa, 750 kilometers (466 miles) southeast of Lima. “This process strengthened our union and will set a precedent for future mining negotiations in Peru.”

Workers in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Indonesia held stoppages at copper, gold and zinc mines this year to pressure for better conditions and a bigger percentage of record profits after metal prices surged. Workers at Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia ended a three-month strike last week after agreeing on a wage increase.

“We now look forward to continued safe production and future expansion opportunities at Cerro Verde,” Freeport spokesman Eric Kinneberg said today in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Emery in Lima at aemery1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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