A general view of the La Escondida copper mine near Antofagasta, some 1,545 km (980 miles) north of Santiago city in this file picture. Escondida, in northern Chile and the world's largest copper mine.

Santiago - Workers at Chile's Escondida Mine, the world's biggest privately owned copper mine, began a 24-hour “warning” strike Monday over working conditions.

The 2,000 employees who skipped work vowed a second day of strikes Wednesday and refused to rule out further action if an agreement over hours and work safety is not begun.

“The union called a 24-hour warning strike, and because of this performance was crippled,” Gustavo Tapia, president of the Mining Federation of Chile, told AFP.

Industry giant BHP Billiton, which controls the facility, made no comment.

Escondida Mine, whose annual production exceeded 1.19 million tonnes in 2013, is located 170 kilometres (105 miles) from the city of Antofagasta.

BHP Billiton owns 57.5 percent of the operation, while Rio Tinto owns 30 percent, JECO Corporation owns 10 percent and JECO 2 Ltd owns 2.5 percent.

Chile is the world's largest copper producer, providing around one-third of global supply. - Sapa-AFP