Chilean president says copper giant Codelco to remain state-owned

14:04, July 22, 2011      

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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Thursday the country's copper giant Codelco will remain state-owned in a bid to ease fears that the company will be privatized.

Codelco, the world's largest copper-producing company, "belongs to all Chileans," and any attempt to privatize it was to be ruled out, Pinera said.

The president's declaration came after rumors that the company would be privatized prompted about 30,000 subcontracted workers and 16,000 members of the country's Federation of Copper Workers to stage a nationwide strike last Monday.

Pinera said the government planned to invest 17.35 billion U.S. dollars to help upgrade Codelco's mining and production.

The president also urged the company to treat its labor force fairly and respectfully.

Codelco's output accounts for over 9 percent of the world's mined output.

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