Management and the main workers union at Chile's Michilla copper mine in northern region II, controlled by local miner Antofagasta Minerals, have reached an early collective contract agreement, the company said in a statement.
The new collective contract will have a duration of 48 months starting on January 1, 2011. The previous contract was set to expire in May 2011.
The agreement involves 352 workers representing 90% of Michilla's total workforce.
Michilla is Antofagasta Minerals' smallest operation and its current mine plan expires in 2012. The company is evaluating two projects to extend the mine life: one to 2015 and another to 2018.
The mine is expected to produce 40,000t of copper cathodes in 2010.
The agreement at Michilla is the second that Antofagasta Minerals closed in the last two weeks, after settling early labor contract negotiations at the Los Pelambres mine in region IV on November 22.
Antofagasta Minerals, controlled by London-based Antofagasta plc (LSE: ANTO), owns 74% of Michilla and also controls the El Tesoro, Los Pelambres and Esperanza copper mines in Chile.
Esperanza, which involved a US$2.3bn investment, has just commenced its start-up process and is expected to reach full production capacity in April next year. By then, the operation will contribute 191,000t of fine copper to Antofagasta Minerals' overall output, which is expected to reach 700,000t/y.
The company also has several international JVs and has just submitted an EIS for its US$950mn Antucoya project, which is expected to have a mine life of 23 years and aims at producing an average of 80,000t/y of copper cathodes from an open pit and heap leaching-SX-EW facilities.
Construction is set to begin in 3Q11, while operations are scheduled to kick off in the first quarter of 2014.