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Chilean copper output expected to increase in the next decade
January 8, 2019

Copper output from Chile could increase by nearly 30 percent during the next decade with the addition of new copper mines, Chile’s state copper agency Cochilco reported.

Cochilco said in a report that output from Chile, the world's top producer of the red metal, could reach a record of 7.25 Mt/a (8 million stpy) as early as 2025.

The state copper agency said in the report that it believes production by existing, aging mines will decrease by 19 percent, to 4.46 Mt/a (4.9 million stpy), but that the decline would be offset by several new projects and expansions.

“The growth in production is only possible if the new investments materialize,” Cochilco said in the report.

Reuters reported that there are several new projects and expansions that are planned in the coming years that will help replace current mines with declining ore grades at sometimes century-old mines.

State-run miner and world top copper producer Codelco recently launched a $40 billion, 10-year investment plan to boost productivity at its Chilean mines.

Canadian miner Teck Resource Ltd is also moving forward with an expansion plan, known as QB2, which won regulatory approval in August. 

The overhaul is expected to extend the ageing deposit’s life by 25 years and substantially boost production to 300 kt/a (330,000 stpy) of copper from 23.4 kt/a (25,800 stpy) in 2017.

In addition to Codelco, Chile is home to global miners BHP Group Ltd, Anglo American Plc, Glencore Plc and Antofagasta Plc.
 

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