Chile’s copper exports down 21% in August

Chile’s copper exports down 21% in August

Codelco is building a bioleaching facility at Radomiro Tomic mine in northern Chile (pictured), which will boost production as regular supplies dwindle. (Image courtesy of Codelco, via Flickr)

Copper exports from the world’s No.1 producing country Chile fell 21% year-on-year in August, affected mainly by reduced shipments from Codelco and Collahuasi, by a consortium made up by Anglo American (44%), Glencore (44%) and other investors, figures from the national copper commission revealed.

The copper-rich country exported 443,400 tonnes of the red metal in August, compared with 561,400 tonnes in 2013.

Bulk shipments, which includes cements, concentrates and secondary copper, totalled 206,600 tonnes, or a 24% less than in August 2013, according to Cochilco.

State-owned Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, was one of the biggest losers, with shipments falling 54% year-on-year in August, to 78,300 tonnes.

Chile’s copper exports down 21% in August

Los Pelambres mine.

Collahuasi exports also plummeted dramatically. They dropped 57% to 12,100 tonnes.

Anglo American’s divisions Norte and Sur reported lower shipments in August as well.

By contrast, exports from BHP Billiton's (ASX:BHP) Escondida mine increased by 10.2% year-on-year, to 108,400 tonnes.

Antofagasta's (LON:ANTO) Los Pelambres shipped abroad a total of 52,200 tonnes in August 2014, up by 13.5% from a year earlier.

Copper content exports, investments up

Despite the gloomy figures, overall performance was rather positive. From January to August the South American nation shipped 3.83 million tonnes of copper content, an increase of 4.5% from the same period last year.

Investments are also picking up said Cochilco, with the mining sector expected to invest $105 billion in projects across the country between 2014 and 2023.

Of the total investment, $81 billion are set to go towards the copper industry, while $23 billion will be used for gold, silver, iron ore another industrial mineral projects.

The massive investment will also include $28 billion in allocated funds for Codelco, the state-owned copper mining company, for new mines and the expansion of one of its major projects.

The red metal, whose price has dropped 10% this year and are more than a third off from their 2011 highs, generates 20% of Chile's GDP and accounts for 60% of the country's exports.