Codelco says 2023 copper production further hurt by heavy rains

Worker at Chuquicamata mine, Chile. Credit: Codelco

Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, expects total losses of about 7,000 metric tons of copper production due to last month’s heavy rains, its chairman said on Wednesday, slightly dampening forecasts for the year.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with the country’s finance ministry, Chairman Maximo Pacheco said the losses included 2,000 tons from the El Teniente mine and 5,000 tons from the Andina mine, which produce a combined 45,000 tons per month.

As a result, the company expects total production for 2023 to be in the lower range of the estimated 1.35 million-1.42 million metric tons.

“The best prognosis we have is that we’re going to be in the low range” for the 2023 forecast, Pacheco said, adding that more information would come once the balance sheet was finalized.

Codelco expects production to start recovering next year, Pacheco added.

“From next year we will begin to see Codelco’s copper production recover because new projects are entering into operation, albeit delayed.”

The government declared a disaster zone in several regions around the country at the end of June after heavy rains left at least two dead and thousands of homes destroyed.

Some operations at Codelco’s star copper mine, El Teniente, were paused and the Andina mine outside of Santiago, the capital, was also briefly halted.

Codelco is still struggling with operational issues and a drop in grade ores, which led to its lowest production in nearly a quarter century in 2022.

Codelco has also been tasked with leading that government’s effort to take control of the lithium industry.

Additionally, the company’s CEO, Andre Sougarret, announced that he was resigning from the company in June, citing “complexities” in running it.

(By Fabian Cambero and Isabel Woodford; Editing by Alexander Villegas, Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)


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