Codelco Sees Annual Output Increase as New Mine Ramps Up

Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, will reach full capacity in June at its new Ministro Hales mine, helping the company boost annual production, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Keller said.

Chile’s state-owned miner overcame a technical issue at Hales’ roasting unit and is ahead of schedule to reach a 163,000-metric ton capacity, Keller said in an interview in Santiago yesterday. The $2.3 billion mine produced 34,000 tons last year.

Codelco is spending more than $4 billion a year to revamp its mines, some of which are a century old, to maintain the company’s leadership of the copper market. The company is on target to exceed last year’s output of 1.79 million tons, Keller said, without elaborating.

Keller is focusing on investments in Chile before weighing overseas opportunities. The company may consider participating in a project in Panama as the government readies legislation to encourage mining investment, he said.

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