SANTIAGO - Antofagasta Minerals, the mining arm of Chile's Luksic group, said it was laying off 7 percent of its workforce in a bid to cut production costs and remain competitive.
"I regret the impact this will have on people who have done their work in an efficient and committed manner, but we must face the new conditions in the copper market and its prospects for recovery," Antofagasta CEO Ivan Arriagada said in a statement Tuesday.
The action, which comes at a time when the price of copper has slid to a six-year low, will affect workers and professional and executive staff at the Los Pelambres and Centinela mines and at the company's corporate headquarters in Santiago.
The layoffs are part of a broader plan to cut costs and boost competitiveness in four areas: service productivity, maintenance management, energy efficiency and organizational effectiveness, the statement said.
"In tandem with other actions, such as contract revision, this organizational adjustment will allow us to safeguard the competitiveness of our operations and their development possibilities. We do not anticipate that any further measures will be necessary barring drastic changes in the market," Arriagada added.
The organizational changes will not affect its commitment to the communities located near its operations and projects, the company said.
Antofagasta Minerals currently produces more than 700,000 tons of copper annually at its Los Pelambres, Centinela and Michilla mines in Chile. It also produces copper in Pakistan in partnership with Canadian miner Barrick Gold and extracts other minerals in Chile and Peru.