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Chile’s Copper Mine Supply to Grow 9.6 Percent This Year

Chile, which mines a third of the world’s copper, will boost supply of the metal by 9.6 percent this year, easing global shortages, state-run copper commission Cochilco said.

Chile’s supply will increase to 5.75 million metric tons, from 5.24 million tons last year, Cochilco said in its quarterly report e-mailed today. Anglo American Plc completed an expansion to its Los Bronces mine in central Chile in December, making it the world’s fifth-largest.

Global supply will increase 4.5 percent this year, and 7.3 percent in 2013, Cochilco said. Copper declined in New York today, paring a fifth weekly advance, as inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced to a record.

Cochilco predicted prices of the metal will average between $3.75 a pound and $3.95 a pound in 2012. March-delivery copper on the Comex fell 0.7 percent to $3.9485 a pound today.

The commission raised its estimate for global copper demand to grow 3.2 percent in 2012, from an estimate of 2.4 percent in its previous quarterly report. Copper demand will exceed 20 million metric tons for the first time as Chinese usage increases 5.9 percent, Cochilco said.

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