The main workers' union at the world's biggest copper mine, Chile's Escondida, announced Friday it had reached an agreement with Anglo-Australian giant BHP to avoid a strike.

The union, which counts more than 2,000 members, said it had obtained "almost unanimous" approval for a new collective agreement proposed by management, cancelling a strike notice that it had filed on July 31.

BHP had already said earlier in the week that negotiations had ended, "resulting in the final content of the collective contract and closing conditions," however the agreement had yet to be accepted by the union.

Neither BHP nor the union published the financial details of the deal, although the company confirmed in a bulletin that the negotiated conditions would be in force for 36 months.

"This afternoon, after almost unanimous acceptance by our base, we formalized the signing of our new collective contract, which includes the gains obtained during collective bargaining," the union said.

Escondida copper mine workers protest outside BHP Billiton's offices in Santiago in May 2021
Escondida copper mine workers protest outside BHP Billiton's offices in Santiago in May 2021 AFP / JAVIER TORRES

Local media reported that the agreement included a bonus for each union member of $23,000, as well as nearly $4,000 for extra days worked, in addition to other provisions.

Workers at the Escondida mine had announced their intention to strike after insisting their demands for a one-off bonus to recognize their work during the coronavirus pandemic had not been met.

In 2017, Escondida workers staged a 44-day strike -- the longest ever in the Chilean mining industry -- that lost BHP $740 million and provoked a 1.3 percent fall in the country's GDP.

Chile is the world's largest copper producer, with 5.6 million tons a year that make up 28 percent of global output, much of which is sold to China, the world's biggest consumer.

Mining makes up 10-15 percent of Chile's GDP and half of its exports.