As the world’s largest copper-producing country, Chile is expected to see an increase of 13.9 percent in copper production by 2028 from the levels in 2016, as the newly-launched mining projects and expansion of the original mines will counteract falling ore grades, the national copper commission Cochilco said on Thursday.
The commission estimated that Chile’s total copper production in Chile will reach 6.32 million tons by 2028 if the new projects can start up as scheduled. However, it was added that without the successful running of those new projects, copper output may drop by as much as 31.5 percent instead.
“The current situation reminds us that the national copper mining industry is still faced up with potentially big challenges and must actively push ahead with new projects,” the commission pointed out in a report. It was reported that Chile will successively put into practice several key projects for the coming years.
Codelco, as a state-owned miner and the world’s top copper producer with a copper yield of 1.7 million tonnes in 2016, has worked out a five-year investment plan, including reconstruction and upgrade of its century-old El Teniente mine and further expansion of the Radomiro Tomic mine.
In addition, the global mining giant BHP Billion said in August it would invest $2.46 billion in extending the life of the Spence copper mine in northern Chile by more than 50 years, making new output available from 2021.
According to data from Chile’s Ministry of Commerce, copper accounts for nearly half of the country’s export volume and as high as 15 percent of its gross domestic product.
It is noted that copper prices just hit a four-year peak of $7,312 a ton on Thursday, ending up this year with a rise of more than 30 percent, thanks to strong global economic recovery and robust demand by China, the biggest copper consumer in the world.