World's #1 copper producer fending off global headwinds

Chile has performed beyond expectation despite slowed commodities demand from its top trade partner, China, and from euro zone nations still mired in crisis.

Despite declining copper prices, Chilean copper exports rose to US$3.47 billion in January, which supported a strong month for the Chilean economy across the board.

Chilean copper output was down 7.6.% in January compared with December 2012, according to Chile's National Institute of Statistics (INE). But year-over-year output in January was up 8.6% as a result of higher ore grades, new mines and improved production capacity.

Going forward, the Southern Cone nation expects to boost production in many of its older mines, despite analysts' warnings that accidents, extreme weather and energy costs could curb forecast production increases.

Chile's national mining association, Sonami, predicts that the country will attract roughly $100-billion in mining investment over the next 10-12 years.