Codelco, one of the world’s largest copper producers, has suspended the construction of all its mining projects in the northern region of Chile because of the pandemic.
The miner will operate its Chuquicamata mine with personnel from Calama City to prevent COVID-19 from spreading any more, the company said in a statement this past weekend, adding that it will make all efforts to maintain its production levels.
The construction of the projects, which are part of the Chuquicamata Subterránea mining project, were suspended long with other mining projects, Codelco said without disclosing further details. Chuquicamata Subterránea is expected to produce 389,000mt of copper this year, and has a lifespan of over 40 years.
Codelco did not respond to queries from Davis Index about how copper production could be affected by the suspensions, nor did it respond to a question about when construction will resume.
This announcement came after a second Codelco worker died from the COVID-19 virus. Chile has more than 247,000 cases, according to official figures on June 22.
Codelco produced 387,000mt of copper in the first quarter of the year, up by 4.2pc to 370,900mt compared the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Chilean miner.
Chile’s copper production is expected to reach 5.87mn mt this year, while production in 2021 is expected to rise by 0.7pc to 5.91mn mt compared to 2020, according to the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco).
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 $2.64/lb on June 22, down by 0.18pc from Friday, according to data from Cochilco.