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Workers briefly block access to BHP's Cerro Colorado mine in Chile

SANTIAGO May 10 Workers at BHP Billiton's Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile temporarily blocked a road leading to the facility on Wednesday, protesting a series of layoffs and what it calls the company's hostile attitude, the main union told Reuters.

The protest came roughly a month and a half after a fractious 43-day strike at BHP's much larger Escondida copper mine in Chile.

By midmorning the protest had ended, and it was not clear if there had been any impact on production.

The company could not be reached immediately for comment, but union president Marcelo Franco told Reuters that workers were scheduled to meet with the mine's manager today.

"We've established that the company has maintained a hostile attitude toward the workers," the union said in a statement.

The protest occurred just hours after BHP officially started a sales process for the mine, one of its smaller operations in South America.

Cerro Colorado, which together with the Spence mine forms BHP's Pampa Norte division, produced 74,000 tonnes of copper in 2016.

Banking sources have named Chile's Empresas Copec SA and Canadian companies such as Lundin Mining Corp as possible buyers for the deposit. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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