Codelco spending $25 billion just to keep output steady

Chile's Codelco is in the midst of executing a $25 billion investment plan aimed to expand its aging mines and search for new high-grade deposits.

Despite spending $5 billion every year for the next five years CEO Nelson Pizarro told the CRU World Copper Conference in Santiago that it expects "no significant gain" in production for its efforts.

Platts News reports Pizarro said the program should see Codelco replace exhausted mine capacity and keep output at current levels.

Codelco produced 1.672 million tonnes last year and according to Pizarro this figure will dip below 1.6 million tonnes in 2018 before returning to around 1.7 million tonnes a year.

Expansion at the century-old El Teniente mine, the world's largest underground operation, is running 38 months behind schedule Pizarro said.