Chile's Collahuasi mine, the world's third largest copper deposit, declared it had to shut down its main port following an accident. It is now looking for alternatives to export copper concentrate.
Collahuasi, owned by Xstrata and Anglo American, extracts some 535,000 tonnes a year, or 3.3 percent of global mined copper.
A company spokeswoman revealed that an unfortunate accident at the Patache port on Saturday led to the death of three workers when part of a ship loader collapsed. Collahuasi is since looking for other options to export copper by sea.
Collahuasi workers returned to their jobs earlier this month following a 32-day strike that is viewed as one of the worst faced by any foreign miner in Chile, the world's top copper producer.
"We're evaluating different alternatives to export copper concentrate while the shiploader is repaired," Bernardita Fernandez told Reuters, adding that she could not say whether Patache was the only port used by Collahuasi. An official at Patache said repairing the ship loader could take a while.
"We spoke with the people there and they said that it can take at least a month to repair the structure that collapsed," said Port Captain Domingo Hormazabal.