Codelco’s Copper Production in Chile Expected to Increase this Year, Reports CESCO According to Reuters

Codelco’s Copper Production in Chile Expected to Increase this Year, Reports CESCO According to Reuters

By Daina Beth Solomon and Julian Luk

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean state mining company Codelco is on track to improve production this year and begin to recover from its smallest decline in a quarter of a century, the head of Chile’s research center said on copper, CESCO, before an important industrial conference which begins on Monday.

Codelco aims to produce between 1.325 million and 1.390 million tonnes of copper this year, a target that, at best, would allow it to slightly exceed its 2023 production of 1.325 million tonnes.

This goal seems realistic, said Jorge Cantallopts, director of the Center for Copper and Mining Studies (CESCO) in Chile, the world’s largest producer of the red metal.

“We believe that this year’s production level will be better than the previous one,” he said in an interview on Friday.

Production could increase at Codelco’s Andina, Salvador and Chuquicamata mines, he noted, although challenges persist for structural projects – megaprojects designed to extend the life of key mines and offset a decline of the grade of the ore.

They include a $5 billion renovation of Chuquicamata, a project that Reuters reported has suffered delays, collapses and construction difficulties.

CESCO warned last year that the company, which accounts for about a quarter of Chile’s copper production, could become insolvent if it fails to meet its production promises.

The center hosts CESCO Week each year alongside the CRU World Copper Conference, which is the largest gathering of industry executives, investors and analysts.

Driven by renewed interest in commodity-related assets, copper prices have risen 10% since the start of this year on the London Metal Exchange. Copper prices also hit a record high on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (Shfe) and approached a two-year high of $4.34 per pound last Friday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

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When prices hit $4.50 per pound, that could start to hurt copper demand, Cantallopts said.

Some signs are already appearing. Copper inventories in China, the main consumer of the industrial metal, have generally declined each April as factory activity resumed after the Lunar New Year.

But copper stocks have not yet declined, remaining at their highest level in several years, at nearly 300,000 tonnes.

Nonetheless, if mining copper supply constraints remain stable in the medium term, Cantallopts said, copper prices could reach $5.00 per pound.

Even as copper miners increasingly look to Africa for high-quality metal, Chile and neighboring Peru are better positioned in the long term and must accelerate their efforts to increase supply, he said. -he declares.

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