Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, said on Friday it had boosted output by 4.7% in the first six months of 2020, even as the mining giant was forced to rely on skeleton crews at its deposits amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The company reported pretax profits of $380 million in the first half of 2020, an increase of 20% over the same period in 2019. Cash costs plunged 9%, helping boost profits alongside strong output.
“The early measures taken by the company to protect the health of its workers allowed us to maintain operational continuity,” the company said in a statement.
Chile, the world’s top copper producer, has been ravaged by the coronavirus, but it has largely maintained copper output despite the dent to its economy.
The Chilean government ruled out on Wednesday the privatization of Codelco, after a small group of lawmakers proposed to sell it off to raise funds for the coronavirus response.
Chile’s Chamber of Mines and unionized workers had rejected the proposal put forward by extreme-right parliament members to sell Codelco.
The plan, laid out in an internal memo to members of the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party, triggered criticism from both sector representatives and unionized workers.
(With files from Reuters)