Chilean copper production falls 8.9% in April, Cochilco says

Chile’s copper production decreased by 8.93% in April from a year earlier despite a recovery from Escondida, with fewer volumes reported for Codelco and Collahuasi, the country’s copper commission, Cochilco, said on Thursday June 2

It produced a total of 420,000 tonnes of copper in April, down from 461,200 tonnes in April 2021. This is also 8.24% lower than March’s 457,700 tonnes.

The country’s official statistics institute, INE, said on May 31 that copper output amounted to 421,742 tonnes in April, down by 9.81% from 467,594 tonnes in the same period of last year. The main factors behind that decline were lower refining rates and a deterioration in mined ore grades, it added.

Tighter supply and the maintenance of a few Chinese smelters nearing their end have been pressuring spot treatment and refining charges (TC/RC) for copper concentrate since the beginning of May, although buying appetite had yet to become particularly stronger.

Fastmarkets calculated its copper concentrates TC index, cif Asia Pacific at $74.30 per tonne on Wednesday, down by 3.13% from $76.70 per tonne on May 27 and 6.54% lower than $79.50 per tonne on May 6.

According to data from Cochilco, state-owned mining company Codelco produced 122,700 tonnes of copper in April, down by 7.54% from 132,700 tonnes a year earlier, mostly due to lower rates at its El Teniente mine as well as at its Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic and Ministro Hales operations.

The commission said output at the Escondida mine operated by BHP was 87,900 tonnes in April, up by 2.57% from 85,700 tonnes a year earlier.

Production at Collahuasi – owned by Anglo American, Glencore and Mitsui & Co – was 41,900 tonnes, 26.49% lower than 57,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres mine produced 20,100 tonnes of copper in April, down by 31.16% from 29,200 tonnes in April 2021.

Production at Anglo American Sur was 18,700 tonnes, a 37.67% year-on-year decrease from 30,000 tonnes.

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