Chile’s copper industry could reduce its output of the red metal by 200,000mt this year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this lowered production could be compensated with improvements in mining operations and technology, Jorge Cantallopts, the Director of Studies and Public Policies of the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco), said during a webinar titled, “Mining in Coronavirus Times: Projection and effects in the industry”.
Post COVID-19, mining companies will have to promote the robotization in their operations to avoid production cuts, Cantallopts said, adding that mining courses at universities will have to include curriculum on these changes to prepare students with new skills to adapt to the changed mining environment.
Chile’s copper production increased by 4.3pc to 1.4mn mt in the first quarter this year, compared to the same period last year, driven by higher output from Codelco, BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine, and Collahuasi mine among others.
The country’s copper production could reach 5.87mn tonnes this year, while production for 2021 is expected to rise by 0.7pc to 5.91mn mt compared to 2020, Cochilco indicated.
Chile has lowered its price guidance for copper by 45¢/lb to $2.40/lb due to COVID-19’s impact on the national copper industry.
Copper prices reached $2.41/lb on Wednesday, May 20, up by 0.36pc compared the prior day, according to Cochilco data.