July 16, 2012 / 6:13 PM / 5 years ago

Some workers protest at Chile's Andina mine, output unaffected

SANTIAGO, July 16 (Reuters) - A protest by some subcontracted workers delayed a shift change on Monday morning at Chile's Andina copper mine, owned by state giant Codelco , but the company said it did not affect production.

The workers, who are on strike to demand the same benefits that staff employees receive, blocked an international road leading to the mine early on Monday for about three hours.

"We took the necessary measures to avoid any damage to production," a spokesman for Codelco said.

Chile, the world's top copper producer, has been hit by a wave of labor stoppages as workers demand improved benefits amid high prices for copper, the country's main export.

Codelco has a major expansion plan for Andina, which produced 234,000 tonnes of copper last year. This would convert the project into its main operation in the coming years.

The striking workers, whose direct employer is Gardilcic, have threatened to intensify protests if their demands are not met.

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