The year with the highest production in its history in 2018 had the Chilean mining. This after increasing the extraction of copper by 6% over 2017, allowing the sector to produce 5.83 million tons of the mineral, which broke the record of 5.77 million tons achieved in 2013. In passing recovered it participation in the international market.
This is evident from the annual scales of the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco), which also shows that this increase is mainly explained by mining Escondida's progress, which reversed the lean figures in the 2017 year when it faced a 44-day strike – and increased its production by 317 thousand tons (34%).
Thus, the downward trend in other operations such as Codelco, which fell 1.9% of its own production to 1 million 806 thousand tons, turned the other way around.
Compared to the participation of the Chilean industry in the international copper market, last year closed with a rise of 26.7% to 27.7%, given recent global figures for October 2018.
At the same time, competing countries such as Peru, China or the US scored a drop. For neighboring countries, it fell from 12% to 11.6% from one year to the next, while China reduced its weight in the international market from 8.4% in 2017 to 7.2% a year later.
As has been a trend, the proportion of concentrates versus cathodes has increased added value, too. Thus, in 2018, the concentrates explained 73% of the total production, against 27% of the cathodes.
According to Plusmining CEO Juan Carlos Guajardo, the explanation for the improvement in Chilean Chile's copper production is in the increase shown by Minera Escondida, which is primarily due to the start-up of capacity expansion.
"In context, this is a positive figure, but if you look at it from the last 10 years, we have fluctuated between the 5.5 tonnes with heights and lows, but always around that number. What is here and can be an effect of 2018 in Escondida, which had carried out a number of optimizations and investments, and which could produce in a normal way what the strikes in 2017 were, "the expert said.
Guajardo added that the increase in the metal price quoted in 2018 to an average of USD 2.95 per. Pounds, 6% more than the year before.
In relation to the increase in participation, Guajardo said that this is a positive news, but we must remember that Chile was gaining much more weight in the industry and resuming it is not within reach.
Global Leadership The CEO of Cochilco, Manuel José Fernández, pointed out that Chile's leadership in this industry is far from under threat and that the outlook is upwards and points to the production of 7 million tonnes by 2025. "The country that Follow us, Peru is 12%, we are still very far from the other manufacturer. We expect that in 2025 we will exceed – if the projects underway with the pipelines – are 7 million tonnes, ie 20% more production than in 2018, which keeps us in the lead, he says.
The minister's minister, Baldo Prokurica, meanwhile rated the figures released by Cochilco and said that the trend towards the future should be upward.
"For the future, expectations are pretty promising. For this year, we expect production growth of 1.6% compared to 2018, primarily by Escondida, Codelco, Spence and Sierra Gorda. Already in 2020, we expect to exceed 6 million tonnes (6,024 million, specifically), with growth of 3.3% over that achieved in 2018 and 2.4% as expected this year, "he said.