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UPDATE 1-Union calls for strike at BHP's Escondida, Spence mines in Chile

(Adds vote result, quotes, details)

SANTIAGO, May 25 (Reuters) - A union representing workers at BHP Group’s Escondida and Spence copper mines has rejected the company´s contract offer, it told Reuters, and called on members to walk off the job from Thursday.

The 205 workers run the global resources company’s Integrated Operations Center, which manages pits and cathode and concentrator plants in the north of Chile from Santiago, the capital.

The impact of such a strike on BHP´s operations in Chile was not immediately clear, as the negotiation between the remote operations union and the company is the first of its kind.

“Strike from Thursday at 8.00 a.m.(1200 GMT),” union treasurer Paulina Poblete said on Tuesday.

The union secretary, Roberto Robles, said workers would return to the negotiating table only to notify the company of their decision to walk off the job.

The strike call comes as copper prices hover near record highs. Escondida is the world’s largest copper mine.

Contract talks have run since the end of March, while government-mediated talks have lasted five days and can be extended for five more, if both parties agree.

Earlier on Tuesday, BHP told Reuters it would seek to exhaust all dialogue opportunities.

Escondida produced 1.19 million tonnes in 2020, while Spence produced 146,700 tonnes of Chile’s total 5.7 mln tonnes. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Dan Grebler and Clarence Fernandez)

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