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Workers at Chile's Escondida, world's top copper mine, ink contract

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Workers at Chile's Escondida, world's top copper mine, ink contract
FILE PHOTO: Miners watch from a lookout point at the La Escondida copper mine, the world's biggest copper mine, near Antofagasta, Chile March 31, 2008. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo   -   Copyright  Ivan Alvarado(Reuters)
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SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The union representing workers of Chilean copper mine Escondida signed a new collective labour contract on Friday, ending the risk of a strike that could have paralysed the world’s biggest copper mine.

Mine operator BHP <BHP.AX> had said earlier in the week that terms had been reached but the union needed to vote on the new pact.

“We have managed to defend all of our benefits and we have been able to move forward on the relevant issues that have been long postponed,” the union said in a statement, adding that the proposal received 93 percent approval.

The company issued a statement saying the agreement “satisfies both workers and their families, as well as the need for Escondida to be sustainable over time.”

The negotiations took place just over a year after the failure of a labour agreement that led to a historic 44-day strike at the mine, which shook the international copper market.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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