Chile’s biggest copper mines’ output rises

Codelco El Teniente smelter in Chile. (Credit: Consejo Minero)

Copper production in Chile’s top mines rose in April despite the generalised shutdown in the country aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chilean copper commission Cochilco said state miner Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, saw production rise 2.8% year-on-year in April to 133,300 tonnes and 3.8% in the first four months of 2020, while BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest mine, pumped out 102,600 tonnes, a rise of 11.4% on the same month the previous year, an increase of 9% so far in 2020.

Collahuasi meanwhile, a joint-venture between Anglo American and Glencore, produced 54,100 tonnes, a 45.8% year on year rise, and was up 22.6% in 2020.

Chile’s total copper production rose 2.6% year-on-year to 470,600 tonnes, an increase of 3.8% to 1.87 million tonnes in the year.

The country has largely maintained operational capacity despite the coronavirus outbreak but the value of exports has been hit by the plummeting global copper price and sunken demand at the virus epicentre, China.

(By Fabian Cambero and Aislinn Laing; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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