Copper prices rose to their highest levels in almost two years Friday after miner BHP Billiton declared force majeure on copper shipments from the world’s largest copper mine following a strike.

The price of copper jumped 4 per cent Friday to a high of $6,083 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange, the highest level since June 2015.

Workers decided to strike at the Escondida mine on Thursday after talks broke down with the company on benefits. A spokesman for BHP confirmed the company had declared force majeure on its copper contracts.

Majority-owned by BHP, the Escondida mine produced around 980,000 tonnes of copper last year, accounting for around 5 per cent of global production. The last time a strike was declared in 2006 it lasted for 26 days.

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