BHP Billiton, which operates the mine in northern Colombian province of Córdoba, had declared force majeure on Friday on nickel deliveries from Cerro Matoso because of the dispute mainly over the contracting of workers.Sintracerramatoso union president, Roger Herrera, said an assembly voted to lift the protest at the mine run by BHP Billiton and the strike will officially end when commissions from the company and union sign an accord.”We now have authorization to lift the strike,” Herrera told British press agency Reuters, adding the company offer addressed union concerns over contracting employees and replacing workers.He said an agreement should be signed late on Sunday and estimated miners should return to work during Monday.A company source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that a meeting was scheduled later on Sunday.The miners’ strike that began on Feb. 27 has supported international nickel prices as Cerro Matoso produces around 4 percent of the world’s supply of the metal, which is mainly used in the stainless steel industry.The dispute was mostly over the use of outside contractors. The union opposes their use, but the company said they were needed for short-term exploration, construction and other projects.Cerro Matoso produces around 55,000 tonnes a year of ferronickel in a global nickel market, which has around 1.3 million to 1.5 million tonnes and analysts said the force majeure had its impact on world prices.
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