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SCOTT JAGOW: Workers at the world’s largest copper mine have been on strike for three weeks now. The company that owns the Escondida mine in Chile has been raking in the profits. Copper prices are way up there, but as Ashley Milne-Tyte reports, that hasn’t given the miners much leverage.
ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Workers originally demanded a 13 percent raise and $30,000 bonus linked to copper prices.
In the last two weeks they’ve reduced their demands twice but the company still won’t meet them. Catherine Verga is with commodities research firm CPM group.
CATHERINE VERGA: “They do not want to concede to higher wages than what they foresee as feasible in upcoming years.”
Copper may be fetching near-record prices now, but, Verga says, company bosses are hedging their bets.
VERGA: “They definitely see that within two thousand seven prices should be coming off sharply.”
And profits will diminish along with them. The company says its 4 percent raise offer is final.
Verga says copper traded on world markets is likely to remain fairly pricey for the short-term.
That’s partly because other mines in Chile have contract renewals coming up, and there’s always the chance of yet another strike.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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