Canada’s largest copper mine ratifies 5-year labor contract

Canada’s largest copper mine ratifies 5-year labor contract

A five year contract has been ratified by union members at Canada’s largest copper mine, Highland Valley in British Columbia.

The agreement with Canadian miner Teck Cominco includes wage increases of 4% annually, in addition to a separate wage category negotiated for traders and technical people.

Local 7619 of the United Steelworkers told Dow Jones Newswire if copper prices remain above Cdn$1.27/lb, the copper bonus will add Cdn$1.50 to Cdn$2 to the pension base for each year of the deal. The union also highlighted gains in post-retirement medical benefits, and increased severance packages should employees be laid off due to a restructuring of operations or permanent closure.

Highland Valley operations had been shut due prior to the completion of negotiations. One of the largest copper mining and concentrate operations in the world, Highland Valley is now undergoing a Cdn$40 million expansion which will extend mine life to 2013. The newly approved contract will expire September 30, 2011.

Average copper concentrate production is expected to average 400,000 tonnes annually for the remainder of mine life.

Several major Chilean mine contracts have been recently approved including BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper mine, and BHP’s Spence copper project, and Codelco’s Andina Division in Chile. The world’s largest copper miner Chile’s Codelco must soon commence negotiations with its largest division, Codelco Norte.

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