Copper futures rose on Friday on fears that a strike in Chile's Codelco may erode metals production. Falling inventories helped lifting prices today.

After nine days of strike in Chile's state-owned Codelco, there is no signal that the dispute has been solved and so far three mines have stopped operations. Contract workers demand their labor rights to be respected while employees have protested of insecure conditions caused by striking contract workers.

Yesterday two workers were injured amid violent acts as they were trying to get to work.

Codelco is world's top copper producer and its mines Andina, El Salvador and El Teniente have been closed. Recently the company said its losses were equivalent to $10 million per day.

A Chile's government spokesman told reporters as a bid to end the strike Codelco may hire 1,500 contract workers, saying that the company offered to advance bonus payments to help.

Copper futures for delivery in July rose 3.6 cents or 0.93 percent to $3.9110 a pound on the Comex division of the New York mercantile Exchange today.

Copper prices hit a new record high on April 17 reaching as much as $4.045 a pound in New York.

Supporting prices today, inventories of copper monitored by the London Metal Exchange slumped 1.3 percent while in the Shanghai futures Exchange stockpiles dropped 12 percent in the past week.

Copper futures traded in the London Metal Exchange fell $29 or 0.34 percent to $8, 607 a metric ton today.