Contractors Stage Protests at Codelco Copper Mines in Chile

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Contract workers staged protests at Chilean copper mines today, blocking access roads at operations run by state-owned Codelco, to push for increased job security.

Codelco’s mining operations weren’t affected by groups of protesters, a company official briefed on the matter said by telephone, declining to be named citing company policy. Codelco’s Andina division was “paralyzed” after employees of contracted companies blocked access to shift workers, said Claudio Valenzuela, a spokesman for the contract workers union.

Workers also marched along roads outside Codelco’s Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic and Gaby mines and caused interruptions at its Ventanas smelter, Valenzuela said by telephone from Andina. The protests will be scaled down in the coming hours, he said.

There were no protests at Collahuasi, the world’s third biggest copper mine owned by Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc, the operating company said in an e-mailed response to questions. Marcelo Esquivel, a Santiago-based spokesman for Anglo American, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

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