FOCUS: High-stakes labor negotiations await Chile’s copper miners in H2 2021

Chile’s copper miners face the biggest set of labor negotiations in years, but with prices expected to maintain current highs, how high is the risk to output disruptions? Fastmarkets investigates.

More than 40 labor negotiations are due to take place this year at mines in Chile, the world’s leading copper producer, against a backdrop of almost decade-high metal prices and elections set to be hotly contested in a country where the Covid-19 pandemic remains critical.
Around 60% of Chile’s copper output in 2020 (equivalent to 5.73 million tonnes) was produced in mines that have union negotiations this year. Together, these mines represent around 17% of the world’s total mined copper production, International Copper Study Group (ICSG) figures show.
Negotiations will start in the coming months amid rising copper prices and an expected growth in demand due to ‘green energy’ efforts around the world and improving economies following the end of the respective recent waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The LME copper cash price reached $9,648.50 per tonne on February 26 - its highest since July 2011...

Published

Ana de Liz

April 14, 2021

14:36 GMT

London