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Excerpt from our One Page Annotated Wall Street Journal Summary (receive it by email every morning by signing up here):

Mining Companies' Bottom Lines Are Pressured by Labor Tensions

  • Summary: With mining companies reporting record profits due to high commodity prices, employees are starting to flex their muscles by demanding higher pay. Given the shortage of skilled mining workers, the companies are listening. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) recently agreed to give its union workers a 5% raise plus sizable bonuses. BHP can afford this - their annual profit was up 63%, to $10.5 billion. Miners are also striking - a strike at a Canadian mine is costing Inco (NYSE:N) 6,000 metric tons of daily nickel-ore output. Analysts warn that if commodity prices come down, these increased labor costs will be a major issue for smaller mining companies.
  • Comment on related stocks/ETFs: BHP is a diversified mining company which should be able to ride out any price decline of on commodity (for example, copper). One tie-in to high-tech: All those batteries recalled by Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) will have to be replaced. Mines produce the lithium, zinc and nickel used to manufacture batteries.
Source: Miners Want Their Fair Share