Codelco Halts Smelting Operations After Worker Protests; Chinese Copper Bar Declines

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Codelco halted its copper “smelting operations at its massive Chuquicamata mine after a group of workers failed to show up for their shifts in protest for higher pay,” reports Reuters.

“The company did not say whether the stoppage could affect output at the mine, Codelco’s third-biggest.”

“State-owned Codelco is in the midst of a sometimes tense overhaul of century-old Chuquicamata to turn the mine into a sprawling underground complex.”

“Lay-offs have already hit the mine, located in the northern Atacama desert, and some workers fear further cuts may be ahead as the company downsizes and seeks to boost efficiency.”

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Following two days of increases, the price of Chinese copper bar dropped by 0.7 percent to end on Tuesday, December 3. Following a couple days of improvement, the Chinese copper cash price weakened by 0.7 percent. The price of Chinese copper wire remained essentially flat. Chinese bright copper scrap saw little change in its price on Tuesday.

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The Japanese copper cash price increased 0.5 percent. After two flat days, the price of US copper producer grade 122 inched up 0.3 percent yesterday. The price of US copper producer grade 110 increased 0.3 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 102 rose by 0.2 percent after remaining flat for two days.

On the LME, the primary copper cash price fell 0.3 percent to $7,008 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of copper declined 0.2 percent to $7,012 per metric ton.