Chilean Copper Mine

Interested in Chilean copper mines? Want to know more about Chilean copper mining activities? Read on for facts and info on the latest happenings in the Chilean copper mine industry…

Chile happens to be the world’s largest source of copper. Around thirty percent of the copper reserves known to man are housed in the country. In terms of global production Chilean copper mines contribute up to 35% of the total.

Rising prices of copper in recent years have played a vital role in the success of the country. Chile has experienced exceptional economic growth due to the inflated copper prices. Copper snatches a staggering 40% of the total gross output of Chile.

Codelco is Chile’s state owned copper producer and also happens to be the largest of them all. In 2003 it produced about 74% of the total copper churned out by Chile. Much of Codelco’s copper stock is exported. China receives the largest amounts at 17%. This is followed up by the United States, South Korea and France. Before the 90s Codelco was the undisputed monopoly in the copper mining industry. However foreign investment has increased and a number of joint ventures have been initiated.

The leading coal producers of the country lowered their copper production in real terms so as to stabilize the price of copper in the market. BHP Billiton, the second biggest name in copper mining reduced its output by over 160,000 t. Colcedo followed up by a reduction of 100,000t. However Coldcedo has excavated large amounts of copper and has safely placed it in its warehouse with the intention to release it once the market stabilizes.

Another notable Chilean copper mine is the Antofagasta’s Michilla mine which produces large amounts of copper cathode. Pelambres, yet another notable name in copper mining has also expanded its mining operations by a great deal. As Chile makes efforts to set up tailings dams the production of copper is set to increase as using these dams the wastage will be minimized during mining.

Quebrada Blanca situated in Region I have also initiated a movement to raise their production by a notable amount. The copper mine was falling behind its schedule in the early 2000s but has managed to stabilize since then.

The large copper producer BHP Billiton is currently operating two mines. The first is Cerro Colorado which has been approved for expansion of cathode copper. This has been made possible by improvements in infrastructure with the retreatment of tailings being one of the major contributing factors. The other Chilean coal mine operated by BHP Billiton is in Escondida which is successfully implementing its expansion phases at the moment.

Codelco on the other hand focuses its attention on El Teniente and Chuquicamata copper mines. A large amount of money is being invested in expansion programs at these two divisions. The company managed to achieve its desired increased level of production by 2005.

Collahusi copper-molybdenum mine is credited as being the fourth largest copper mine in the world. Currently plans are underway to further expand this massive copper reserve.