BHP Workers Resume Strikes In Australia

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Workers at Australian coal mines owned by BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, resumed labor strikes on Saturday ahead of talks scheduled with executives aimed at ending the labor rift. Strikes are taking place at mines where BHP produces metallurgical coal, the coal grade that is in high demand by Asian steelmakers.

BHP (BHP) is the world's largest producer of coal used to produce steel. BHP workers began a series of strikes in June in an effort to secure better pay and improved job security as Australian coal miners are in the midst of an emerging markets-fueled boom that has led to increased demand and profits.

Employees at the Gregory and Crinum mines started shift- long stoppages today that typically last 12 hours and about 3,500 miners have been participating in the labor stoppages, according to Bloomberg News. A vote on a new labor agreement is expected after two more meetings in August.

The company is also facing a work stoppage at Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, which is expected to curb production and fuel higher prices for the red metal, Bloomberg reported.