Freeport McMoRan’s (FCX) El Abra copper mine in Chile will scale down copper processing by 40pc due to global copper prices declining steeply.
The El Abra mine will reduce copper ore processing from 110,000mt per day to 65,000mt.
The company said falling copper prices had put it in a difficult situation and that it would also lay off 275 workers. Chile recently announced that it lowered its price guidance for copper by 45¢/lb to $2.40/lb due to COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the national copper industry.
The El Abra mine includes a solution extraction/electrowinning facility with an annual copper cathode capacity of 500mn lb (226,796mt), 125,000mt of crushed leach circuit a day, and a similar-sized run of mine leaching operation, according to data from the company.
El Abra, which is an open-pit copper mining complex, is 51pc owned by FCX with Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, owning the remainder.
However, some miners, including Codelco, a Chilean company, have considered cutting output, but have also temporarily suspended construction on some of their mining projects to protect employees from the virus.
Chile’s copper production is expected to reach 5.87mn mt this year, while production in 2021 is expected to rise by 0.7pc on an annual basis to 5.91mn mt, according to the latest figures from the Chilean Copper Commission.