Sonami: 12,000 miners out of work in 2008 following start of crisis

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 22, 2009
Some 12,000 Chilean miners lost their jobs last year following the outbreak of the global financial crisis, Alfredo Ovalle, president of Chile's private miners association Sonami, said at a Santiago press conference on Thursday. "In response to the crisis we estimate that 12,000 jobs were reduced in the mining sector by December 31," Ovalle said, adding that the job losses have cut Chile's mining employment by 16%. The nation's small and midsize miners were the hardest hit. Ovalle said that in October-December some 31% of companies in the sector went out of business, reducing producers from 2,065 to 1,433. Mine output within the same time period decreased by 38%. As a result, Ovalle urged Chile's finance ministry to approve further financial aid for small and midsize producers. Sonami has an ongoing analysis project to determine exactly how many layoffs have occurred within the association's member companies. Chile is the world's largest copper producer.

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