Chile's Codelco workers strike over smelter closure

STORY: The Federation of Copper Workers, an umbrella group of Codelco's unions, said 50,000 workers were expected to strike, including staff and contractors after the Ventanas smelter was shuttered despite calls for investment to keep it open.

The government and the company, however, moved quickly to dispel concerns over an impact to operations.

Codelco's board of directors approved the closure of the Ventanas smelter last week after it had been suspended for maintenance after dozens in the region fell ill. The decision was later backed by Chilean President Gabriel Boric.

Workers had warned last week they would strike if investments to upgrade the facility were not approved and insisted on Tuesday the company should upgrade the smelter.

The area the smelter is located in is saturated with industrial operations that environmental activists have described as a "sacrifice zone" due to pollution incidents.

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