Chile’s Codelco’s Jan-Sept profit down 61%, output also low

Codelco CEO Thomas Keller.

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s No.1 cooper producer, said Friday (Spanish language) its January-September profits before tax and extraordinary items plummeted 61% during the period, compared to the same period last year, due mainly to an unusually high base of appraisal on a vast financial transaction with Anglo American last year.

Output declined 0.3% in the period, added the company, blaming lower ore grades, harder rock and more complicated production processes in deeper deposits for the slight fall. The copper giant, however, expects its full-year output to be in a similar range to last year’s, when it collapsed to its lowest level in four years.

Codelco’s most emblematic mines —Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic, Salvador and Andina— failed to produce as much as in previous years, but increases at El Teniente Gabriel Mistral helped curb the overall decline.

Earlier this month CEO Thomas Keller said Codelco aims to become one of the world’s ten largest silver producers as soon as its touted Ministro Hales mine begins production next year.

The nearly $3 billion copper-silver mine is expected to add 300 tons of the precious grey material to the existing silver output from the rest of Codelco’s operations in the country.

The firm owns about 11% of the world’s copper reserves. The red metal accounts for 60% of the Chile’s exports and 15% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

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