Codelco says copper production, sales hitting targets amid coronavirus outbreak

The Radomiro Tomic copper mine. Credit: Codelco

Chile state copper miner Codelco, the world’s largest, said on Wednesday its production continued in line with its plans despite the measures it has implemented to stave off the spread of coronavirus at its operations.

The company told Reuters in an email that it had also met 100% of its sales targets, even as many of its top customers, including China, have seen industry shuttered by the virus.

The company said the measure would apply to approximately 30% of its total third-party contracts and would last for 30 days

Elsewhere in Chile, some private copper miners have considered cutting production, Reuters reported last week, though for now most have opted to reduce staff and maintain operations.

Codelco earlier on Wednesday said in a statement it would temporarily suspend some contract work at its projects and mines amid increasing restrictions on movement prompted by the coronavirus crisis.

The company said the measure would apply to approximately 30% of its total third-party contracts and would last for 30 days. The suspension would be renewed as necessary as the pandemic evolves, the company added.

The state miner said increasing limitations related to the outbreak had made it “impossible” for some contractors to complete their work, but said it would nonetheless maintain operational continuity.

Codelco in March suspended construction on some projects in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. The company’s unions have for several weeks pressured for additional safety measures.

Chile, the world’s top copper producer, is home to large global miners like BHP, Anglo American, Glencore, Freeport and Antofagasta.

(By Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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