President Allende of Chile has been urging a reform which will render agreements with copper mining companies having substantial United States investment, null and void.
President Allende of Chile has been urging a reform which will render agreements with copper mining companies having substantial United States investment, null and void. In Santiago on Monday (21 December) he signed a Bill.... for passing on to Congress.... which will allow the state to expropriate all Anaconda, Kennecott and Cerro Corporation copper properties in Chile. The only indemnity would be for original investments. These mines produce 80 percent of Chile's copper.
Many of Chile's copper-mining labour force have demonstrated against the move, fearing redundancy and loss of jobs. The Bill however seems virtually assured of approval in the Congress as the Christian Democrats..Chile's biggest single party....have expressed agreement in principle with nationalisation of the copper industry. Most support has come through a belief that Chile has not properly benefited from its resources, that foreign investors were not returning sufficient profits into the country's economy, and that too much copper was being exported from Chile. According to the United States Commerce Department, United States copper companies in Chile had an estimated 320 million dollar value at the end of 1968.
If the constitutional Reform Bill on the nationalisation of Chile's giant American-owned copper-mines meets opposition in the Congress, the Government has said it will not hesitate to put the issue to the country in a referendum. President Allende has warned of the possibility of an "international conspiracy", and called upon Chileans to be on their guard. Chile, the world's largest copper exporter, seems determined to have more say in its national wealth.