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Chile's state-run Codelco stops Chuquicamata mine concentrator due to protests

SANTIAGO, Chile – The world’s top copper producing company says it has been forced to temporarily stop the concentrator at its Chuquicamata mine in Chile due to a protest by contract workers.

Chile’s state-run Codelco mining company said Wednesday that hooded demonstrators have set up flaming barricades at Chuquicamata, the world’s largest open-pit copper mine.

The company halted the concentrator due to security reasons after protesters tried to take over the mine.

Access roads were blocked by protesters, who are demanding salary hikes and contract extensions at Codelco mines. They include Andina, Chuquicamata, Gabriela Mistral, Salvador and El Teniente.

Codelco has been hard hit by lower prices and demand for copper due to an economic slowdown in China.