Chile’s top miners boost copper output even amid protests

Escondida mine, Chile. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto

Copper production at Chile’s top mines increased in October, Chilean copper commission Cochilco said on Monday, even as protests and sometimes-violent rioting gripped the nation.

Cochilco said output at top copper miner Codelco increased 2.5% percent in October over the same month in 2018, to 154,500 tonnes.

Production at BHP’s Escondida copper mine – the world’s largest – rose 12.7% to 108,100 tonnes in October, and the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile, a joint-venture between Anglo American and Glencore , produced 50,900 tonnes October, up 3.7%.

Weeks of unrest in Chile have led to at least 26 deaths and billions in losses to private businesses and public infrastructure. The protests prompted the central bank last week to slash forecasts for growth, investment and demand through 2020.

Chile’s vast copper mines have nonetheless largely maintained production and kept operations running normally, though there have been isolated incidents at some operations and uncertainty lingers.

(By Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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