Codelco to spend $210m by year-end to keep mines running

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, said on Wednesday it expected to spend $210 million before year-end to ensure all its divisions comply with the latest health protocols designed to stop the spread of covid-19. 

The state-owned miner said the necessary investment sought to ensure operational continuity when a second wave hits the country. Case numbers in Chile have been steadily falling with the onset of the southern hemisphere’s spring.

Codelco’s VP of projects, Gerhard von Borries, said that about $124 million of the total will be allocated to keep its Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic and El Teniente divisions running “as usual.”

Chile’s mining activity has remained a bright spot during the pandemic for the economy, which depends on metals exports.

Most of the country’s sprawling copper mines maintained output even at the height of the local outbreak in May and June.

In a presentation Tuesday, the Chilean government’s copper agency Cochilco said mining labour productivity rose 25% in the third quarter and 28% in the second quarter.

Codelco, which hands over all of its profits to the state, holds vast copper deposits, accounting for 10% of the world’s known proven and probable reserves and about 11% of the global annual copper output, with 1.6 million tonnes of production in 2019.

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