Chile’s national mining company (Enami) will invest $2.3bn in 415 small-scale mining projects, most of them for copper, across the country to boost mining output.
According to Chile’s Minister of Mining, Baldo Prokurica, the move will allow miners to have equipment and training to improve their output and work safety.
Of the total mining projects, 31.6pc will be developed in the Atacama region and 30.8pc will be in the copper-rich Coquimbo region. Valparaíso, Antofagasta, and O’Higgins will develop 11.1pc, 8.2pc, and 6.5pc of the projects, respectively. The latter three regions are also known for their vast copper reserves.
Between January and August this year, the number of small-scale miners in Chile have increased by 6pc compared to the same period last year a local media report indicated. Chile recorded a monthly average of 789 small-scale miners mainly for copper and gold, Enami said, adding that in April alone, when copper prices started to improve, there were 834 small-scale copper miners.
Chile’s copper production is expected to fall by 1.2pc to 5.71mn mt in 2020, from 5.78mn mt in 2019, according to figures from the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco). The country’s copper prices are expected to end 2020 at $2.62/lb, 23¢/lb lower than the guidance announced in January, due to the uncertainties in the market produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copper prices reached $3.08/lb on Tuesday, September 22, down by 0.39pc compared the prior day, according to data from Cochilco.