Codelco estimates $210m impact from pandemic

Codelco to spend $210 million by year-end to keep mines running
At more than 1,100 metres deep, Chuquicamata is still the world’s largest open-pit copper mine. (Image courtesy of Codelco.)

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, said the pandemic will have an economic impact of $210 million, of which $138 million is due to operational continuity and production and the rest is explained by expenses in logistics, transportation, new facilities and purchasing supplies.

The state-owned miner’s VP of projects, Gerhard von Borries, said that about $124 million of the total will be allocated to keep the Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic and El Teniente divisions running “as usual.”

Chile’s mining activity has remained a bright spot during the pandemic for the economy, which depends on metals exports.

Most of the country’s sprawling copper mines maintained output even at the height of the local outbreak in May and June.

Case numbers in Chile have been steadily falling since August with the onset of the southern hemisphere’s spring.

In a presentation Tuesday, the Chilean government’s copper agency Cochilco said mining labour productivity rose 25% in the third quarter and 28% in the second quarter.

Codelco, which hands over all of its profits to the state, holds vast copper deposits, accounting for 10% of the world’s known proven and probable reserves and about 11% of the global annual copper output, with 1.6 million tonnes of production in 2019.

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