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Output In World's Largest Copper Mine Is Falling

Safehaven - Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, saw output fall once again in January to 118,600 tonnes, a 6.8% drop when compared to the same month in 2019, amid a perfect storm of falling ore grades at the largest deposits, water scarcity and social unrest.

The country had reported a drop in overall production last year, with the state-owned miner churning out 1.7 million tonnes of the red metal, the lowest level since 2008, when it generated only 1.55 million tonnes.

At that time, the giant Ministro Hales mine, which contributes between 180,000 and 200,000 tonnes of copper a year, had not yet begun operations.

According to the country’s copper agency Cochilco, private mines fare better. BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, produced 10% more last month (100,900 tonnes) than in the same month last year.

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