Miners’ shares rise on Chilean strike, dollar

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DENVER (AP) — Shares of copper mining companies rose Monday after workers at Chile’s largest copper mine went on strike, which may affect global production. A weakening dollar also boosted the overall commodity sector.

Codelco’s Chuquicamata complex in northern Chile is one of the largest copper mining operations in the world. The company has said it has sufficient inventories to meet commitments for January.

The strike, along with the weaker dollar, helped boost copper prices nearly 2 percent overnight to about $3.41 per pound, Dahlman Rose & Co. analyst Anthony Rizzuto said.

The weakening dollar boosted prices as commodities are priced in dollars.

Rizzuto told clients in a research note that the effect may not be long lasting.

“Labor stoppages in Chile are typically short in duration, thus we would be surprised to see the work stoppage last longer than a month,” he said.

Dahlman Rose & Co. expects it to produce about 560,000 metric tons of copper this year.

By early afternoon, shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. were up $2.93, or 3.7 percent, to $83.23; BHP Billiton Ltd., up $2.65, or 3.6 percent, to $79.22, and Newmont Mining Corp. rose 93 cents, or almost 2 percent, to $48.24.