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Codelco workers in Chile to start national strike on Wednesday - union

Kitco News

SANTIAGO, June 20 (Reuters) - Workers at Chile's state-owned Codelco will start a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest the government's and the company's decision to close a troubled smelter, a union official said.


"We are going to start on Wednesday in the first shift," Amador Pantoja, president of the Federation of Copper Workers (FTC), told Reuters Monday.


Workers had threatened a national strike if the board of directors did not invest to upgrade a troubled smelter located in a saturated industrial zone in Chile's central coast.


Instead, Codelco said on Friday that it would terminate its Ventanas smelter, which has been closed for maintenance and operational adjustments after a recent environmental incident sickened dozens in the region.


The unionized workers insist Ventanas needs $53 million dollars for capsules that retain gases and allow the smelter to operate under environmental compliance, which was dismissed by the government.


(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Tom Hogue and Sam Holmes)

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