Chile’s copper production could decrease by 200,000mt this year because of mining suspensions that took hold in the country when the pandemic began, mining minister Baldo Prokurica said late last week.

 

The announcement follows Codelco, one of the world’s largest copper producers, suspending operations at its Chuquicamata mine and decreasing activities by 30pc El Teniente mine.

 

Prokurica welcomed the moratorium at Chuquicamata because it will protect workers against contracting COVID-19, he said. Three miners from Codelco have already died from virus. Chile has more than 279,000 cases, according to official figures on June 30.

 

Codelco announced on Tuesday that it’s developing a 14-day on and a 14-day off shift schedule at El Salvador until September 27 to combat spread of the virus.

 

Codelco produced 520,000mt of copper between January and April, a 3.8pc increase from the 500,600mt produced during the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco).

 

Chilean copper production reached 1.87mn mt between January and April, up by 3.89pc from 1.80mn mt produced during the same period in 2019, according to Cochilco.

 

Chile’s copper production is expected to reach 5.87mn mt this year, while production in 2021 is anticipated to rise by 0.7pc on an annual basis to 5.91mn mt, according to Cochilco.

 

Chile lowered its price guidance for copper by 45¢/lb to $2.40/lb because of COVID-19’s impact on the national copper industry. 

Copper prices reached $2.73/lb on June 30, rising by 1.36pc from a day earlier, according to data from Cochilco.

 

 

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