Codelco announced the stoppage of smelter in Chuquicamata mine due to Covid-19

Company reported that the measure will imply the reduction of 400 workers.

This involves stopping activities at the smelter and refinery management and the mine and concentrator areas will continue.

The Chilean National Copper Corporation (Codelco) announced this Thursday that it will stop the smelting operation of the Chuquicamata mine due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in Calama.

From the company, they announced that they will stop activities at the smelter and refinery management as a preventive measure due to the increase in cases by Covid-19 in the commune of Calama, Antofagasta Region.

“This new measure is transitory in nature and aims to reduce exposure in the areas, and reinforce preventive efforts and controls of safety and health of people in the division,” they indicated.

This will help “focus productive efforts in the mine and concentrator areas, business units that, under all safeguards, will continue to provide the generation of fundamental surpluses so that our country faces this pandemic in a lesser way.”

This is a decrease of about 400 people, which will mean stopping teams and reducing production rates in both areas.

Minister of Mining: It is a measure that goes in the right line

The Mining Minister told Cooperativa that Codelco’s decision is a good measure, given the contagion scenario in the division.

“This is a measure that goes in the correct line. Mining has taken and is available to take all the measures that are necessary to protect the life and health of its workers who are our main capital,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, Alberto Muñoz, union leader number 1, raised his annoyance with this decision.

“We consider it to be a tremendous disloyalty towards the union leadership. Until last night we were talking, but now we are left with this surprise of wanting to close the smelter, of closing the refinery. We declared ourselves in conflict with the administration. We are not going to accept any economic loss no worker from the Chuquicamata Division, “he said.

For the Copper Workers Federation it was somewhat predictable, as its president Patricio Elgueta stated.

“This is not only a decision of Codelco, but also of the Government. It is a politically correct measure, since the Federation with other union unions have stated that there is a lack of control within the mines as a result of this pandemic,” he said.

The economist and mining expert, Juan Carlos Guajardo, said that “the final impact of this is to clarify whether there is actually going to be a decrease in Codelco’s production.”

“This stoppage of the Smelter and Refinery is a pretty strong signal that difficult situations are occurring in the north. Perhaps we have to understand that more announcements may come and that the impacts will translate into less production and, therefore, have a stronger economic effect, “he added.

Source: Radio Cooperativa

Translated with Google Translator